Sunday, December 16, 2007

Prayers Answered

Friends and Supporters,

Thank you so much for joining me in prayer for Yagaso. It’s time for “the rest of the story”.

A friend who’s also been to PNG and knows and loves Yagaso called and woke me up this morning with the simple message that Yagaso had heard the full message of the Gospel- that Christ is her Mediator and died in her place to pay for her sins, that she answered questions demonstrating a clear understanding of the entire message of God’s plan for us, and that this morning she was with the Lord. Below is what Janie from ITF sent me as well- the best of the descriptions of events I’ve gotten. I have just wept all day today… Pondering His preservation of this woman’s life just long enough so she could hear His Talk in her own language… Amazed and grateful for her desire to hear God’s Talk in the last few weeks of her life… (she would ask the missionaries for a lesson even on days they weren’t scheduled to teach!) Just in awe at God’s goodness, His grace in Yagaso’s life (and mine and yours), His perfect timing, and His ways, which are soooo much infinitely higher than mine.

YAGASO IS WITH THE LORD!!!! Thanks for all of your prayers. I tried to send out an update several days ago, but with our internet going up and down all the time, apparently it didn't go out. I'm glad, as I didn't have the info I have now.
Rich (Bena missionary) and Heti (tribal believer) went to see Yagaso on Monday morning. Rich started the lesson on Abraham and Isaac, and how God provided a substitute to save Isaac. Heti then took that and used a "tok piksa" (talk picture) to explain how Jesus was the substitute for us. Rich said he just sat back and listened to Heti as in beautiful Bena, he explained very clearly the Gospel. Yagaso said she understood, but was very tired, and wasn't up to answering questions. Rich went back several times this week, but each time, Yagaso was too sick to listen. On Friday morning, Dawn (Rich’s wife) stopped by, and there was Yagaso, sitting up, and very alert. Dawn ran home and got Rich, who went back, and taught another whole lesson ending with Jesus' sacrifice for us. Before, Yagaso wouldn't be able to answer the question "How does God cover our sin?" until after Rich answered the question for her -- then for the rest of the questions, she would remember it. On Friday, he gave her no prompting, and she answered all the questions correctly and completely. (I’ll add that another missionary said she stated several times, “manaka”- “it is true”) She was totally alert, and awake -- more so than she has been in a very long time. Rich went away in amazement at what God had done. Dawn had been praying that God would give her one more chance to hear the Gospel, and He answered that request. That afternoon, Miriam (ITF missionary) went by to see Yagaso -- she was again too weak to even sit up. That Friday morning with Rich was the last time she was coherent and alert. The answers to the questions that Rich asked about Jesus were the last words she spoke. Today (Sunday), at 2:15pm, she stood before her Savior in Heaven. I can hear the wailing from the village as I write this. Praise God that although we will miss that precious, mischievous, fun loving spirit in the village, we can celebrate that she no longer has to live the difficult life she had here on earth. God is good. All the time!!

God IS so good. He loves all of us this much- that He gave His Son as a replacement for the price of our sins. He is a God of second chances, and redemption and grace- and this is such a vivid picture of that to me: that He would come to an old woman high up in a mountain, down a dirt road, on the Far Side of the World, even in her final moments before death, and make Himself known to her. It is NEVER too late! Do you know about this God and what He’s done for you? Or maybe you already know about God… Would you like to know more? I’d love to share with you more about this Jesus that Yagaso is now seeing face to face.

God bless you this Christmas season! If I may serve you through prayer or any other means, please let me know. I look forward to hearing from you!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

To My Supporters- A Tiny Update :)

Dear Ones,

It’s definitely late in coming, and I am so sorry for that… But I have got to take a moment to just sincerely thank you for your part in sending me to New Guinea this year- and twice at that! Some support thru financial giving, some thru prayer, and some of you are simply “there for me” emotionally- when I’m homesick while I’m gone, or when things are weird when I come back. But I am just so very thankful for the roles that ALL of you have played in my short term missions involvement. I can’t do it justice with words- to tell you how grateful I am.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently… it seems so strange at times… The Lord has brought people into my life- who I love dearly- who happen to live on the far side of the world. I can’t see them even half as often as I’d love to, I won’t be the one who shares the Gospel with them, and I don’t even speak their language (well, not their heart language…). I serve them in the most indirect way, really… My time with the Nationals was actually more limited on this last trip than on others. But still- when I would meet some kids I knew on the road, or shake hands with one of the papas up in the villages, or see one of my “favorite” ladies in the kitchen when we worked the same shift- my heart would just melt.

On this last trip, I was in PNG for about 10 days before I got to see my old language helper, Joyce. It was getting dark in the village as I walked thru with some friends, and she saw me before I saw her. I can’t even tell you how amazing it was- to hear her call out to me, and to see her again- and hug her again! I never dreamed back in 2006 that I’d see her again EVER, and now she’s my family.

I never would have dreamed back in 2004- after the first trip- that I’d ever go back to PNG. But this was my 4th adventure there, and by far the best yet! It’s no longer this mysterious place where everything is unfamiliar, customs and culture are weird, and I go timidly. It feels more like home. I know where things are in the kitchen, how to get to the river, and following the “crazy customs” comes pretty naturally now.

I got an email update from the staff at Interface just now, which prompted me to write this, and I will include it at the end of this note. It mentions an elderly woman, “Yagaso”. I saw for myself over the past 18 months just how her health has been declining, and my heart just broke thinking that she didn’t know the Lord. If you want, click on the link to the right labeled "Summer Movie" to watch my Summer 2007 “movie”- she’s in there… And now, she’s listening to “God’s Talk”. I’m just speechless at this. And it brings tears to my eyes- to think that she’s listening now, finally. THAT is why I go. You might just see her some day yourself! In Heaven! That is just so amazing!! I hope there’ll be several of my Bena friends that I can introduce you to someday… Pray with me for them.

Thank you so much again for all that you do and have done for me, and ultimately for the Lord. I love you, and am praying for you as well. Please let me know how I can serve you more specifically-thru prayer or any other means.

And now, here’s the letter:

Greetings from Interface!
God is moving among the Bena Bena!

These are exciting days for the church planting effort here in Bena land.
Since Rich Foster's return from furlough in August, he has been teaching through the book of Mark. There is a consistent group of 6-7 who come to each of the teaching sessions, and these are the ones who are growing spiritually.
These young believers have begun expressing their understanding of God's truths. One said, "I came this morning [to the teaching] not understanding something, but now [after the teaching] I'm walking away knowing God's thoughts on the subject."
Another said, "Some people go away to Bible school to learn about the Bible, but God has brought it to my front door; and in my own language."
Please continue to pray for these young believers that they will hunger for more of God's Word, and will put into practice what He is teaching them.

The Phase 1 Evangelistic Chronological teaching (Creation to Christ) will begin again right here in this area on Tuesday, November 20. The believers are also interested in this as it will offer their family and friends the opportunity to understand the truths they themselves are grasping and enjoying.
The believers are spreading the word that the things they are hearing from the meetings they are understanding clearly for the first time.
Please pray for this next outreach (Nov-Mar), that hearts will be prepared to hear and respond to God's truth. Pray for stamina for Rich, as the Lees and Averharts are both on furlough.

Many of you remember Yagaso and have asked about her. She is still very sharp mentally, but her arthritis is finally preventing her from gardening and getting around as much. Rich has begun teaching her chronologically one-on-one. She is keen for her 'private lessons' and will even show up for another lesson when it's not scheduled for that day! Pray that her spiritual eyes will finally be opened after all these years!

Thank you for sharing in the Bena work through your prayerful interest. We treasure the part you play in the work God is doing here.

The ITF Staff

In His service and for His glory,

Emily Parbhoo

Monday, October 29, 2007

Truth and Harry Potter...

This is my response to an email sent to me about Harry Potter...


3 ironies: first, that, in light of the email that preceded this one, I wasn't asked to be on this mailing list. But here I am, none the less, and therefore I thank you in advance for your time and patience as I offer a few words in this general direction... Second, I happen to have just taken a class at Northland with Omar as the teacher, and so I can say I know him now, and have seen first hand a little of his line of thought, general wisdom, and his love and knowledge of the Lord. And third, just today in Home Church, we briefly hit on what I want to say now concerning God's Truth. Interesting timing. :)

And here's the jewel! I totally agree with everything BOTH of you are saying. Wow. Is it possible??

Ok. I personally think that HP goes to a place no Christian should be ok with. All of the stuff in the email below- Come on, I am the Queen of quoting those verses! I'll add some references here though for you to visit on your own: Gal. 5: 16-26, Gal. 6:7-8, Eph. 4:17-32, and Eph. 5:3-14. I'll quote from this last reference: "Obscene stories, foolish talk and coarse jokes- these are not for you!... Don't be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the terrible anger of God comes upon all those who disobey Him... Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them..." I guess a good thing to remember though, is that we ALL disobey God every day. Who cares if we’re good about not letting some bad stuff in, there’ll be some other vice for each of us. We are all just totally in need of the Holy Spirit to guide and convict us daily.

Ok... All that said, I totally still see what Omar is trying to say, and don't want that to be lost on people either. I don't know if this totally follows his train of thought, but here's another 2 cents: Truth is truth, no matter where it's found. Truth IS absolute, not changeable. So if there is good to be found in something worldly, I don't think we should be afraid to acknowledge it! God is a God of complete truth, and He is the author of all truth. And we can embrace truth without embracing the world or the worldly thing it was wrapped up in. Make sense? Example: Mormons have really great family values. That's like something they're known for. Now their religion is totally nuts, and they think we're all going to have millions of alien babies when we go to Heaven. But GOD mandates care for our families- honoring father and mother, taking care of widows, orphans and our family members in need, etc. THAT is true. Muslims are very committed to modesty. Their religion is totally false, and they don't worship the One True God, but again- there is TRUTH present in that practice of theirs, and that is God's truth. I'm not at all saying accept the religion, I'm only saying it's OK to acknowledge the truth because ultimately it's all God's anyway! God's truth isn't hindered by the world, sin, our backs turned to Him, etc. God's truth is everywhere! So, if Harry Potter fights against evil, demonstrates sacrificial love and redemption, those are all true things. I'm not saying read the books AT ALL. I'm just saying "ok, it's nice to know about the truth that all the pagans reading them will find".

Now, swinging from the same vine, I do not believe truth should be wrapped in lies. To me, that drains the potency of the original truth to be found in the untrue source. (a childish example of this is "the boy who cried wolf", where he might have been telling the truth, but it was disguised in the lies he'd told so often before) Therefore, overall, I can't say I think it's good to read these books in question. Have I read the books? No, just part of the first one a really long time ago. Did I think it was horribly wicked? Hard to say. Bottom line: I don't think we, as Children of the Light, should take part in things that glorify real evil. So that includes fun little kid stories about witches and spells, etc. Will any future child of mine read stuff like this? Not a chance. Any "good message" or "great literature" that can be found in them is lost to me among the other stuff.

Thank you so much for your opinions! Have a wonderful week.

Emily Parbhoo
"What can we bring the LORD? What kind of offering should we give Him?... O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: do what is right, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God." -- Micah 6:6-8

-----Original Message-----
From: Ralph


I understand that you're trying to peacefully spread your opinions to
others, but you have no idea what you're opening up. I disagree with you.
Based on your logic, anything goes! I mean heck, if you can extract "good"
from any Hollywood movie, then they're all okay to see! Right? Wrong Omar.
Your message stated nothing about "fleeing from evil", "avoiding perverse
talk", "avoiding sorcery and mediums of witchcraft", standing against what
God calls an "abomination", and just general common sense. Not to mention
the Potter movies are packed full of languages and tongues that we know
nothing about! Did you bother studying what reference books the author uses
for all of those magic words and spells? I'm willing to bet you didn't.

This is how Satan works Omar, he mixes in lies with the truth. Harry Potter
tries to teach kids that there are other kinds of "good" apart from
Christ/God. Overall, the characters conquer evil through FICTIONAL practice.
Not truth. Not through Christ.

Omar, I'm not trying to slam you here, but before you send out messages, you
should consider studying up a little further and inviting the Spirit in more
in your so called "gray areas". Otherwise your messages are just haphazard.

In love and rebuke,

-----Original Message-----
From: Omar Gonzalez
Sent: Sunday, October 28, 2007 1:22 PM
Subject: Re: Fwd: RE: "Bella" is opening in Theatres this weekend.

I likewise would encourage all to attend Bella, but
would remind you not to be so quick to dismiss Potter.
This certainly is a grey area where Christians have
room to disagree, and for those Potter fans who don't
feel the need to avoid the next series, don't feel
like you have to, you do not. There isn't any mandate
in scripture that would prohibit viewing. The series
borrows great literary and mythical elements from many
classics in western literature, including Greek and
Roman mythology. The message is ultimately positive
with even a redemptive message in the self-sacrifice
of Potter, the victory of love and good over evil, the
master of death. The series has many biblical
reference in it as well. These are the themes that
make for great literature, including the danger of
prejudice and intolerance towards those that are
differen than us (mug-bloods). Like Star Wars,
Indiana Jones series, and Matrix, Potter is
syncrenistic (mixes different ideology) but this
should not discourage viewing. It certainly doesn't
fall into the same category as a Narnia or Lord of the
Rings, but scripture doesn't prohibit the reading of
fantasy literature. Now, if anyone is seriously
thinking about joining a coven and becoming a Wiccan,
than we have to talk.

Keep the faith! and always remember to respectfully
disagree in love!


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Summer Movie

Ok, making these little "movies" has become a soft addiction for me... Good thing this one's done, and I'm not going back for a while! If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please let me know via email.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

(Some) News and Prayer Requests (Update #2)

Ok, here's the thing about PNG: 1 day here can feel like multiple days. So to me, instead of being here for just 2 1/2 weeks, it feels like I've been here for about 3 months. I swear- for like 2 days now, I've been just antsy- wanting to write you, but 3 things: first- I don't like feeling like I'm "writing home from camp", second- I don't want to bug you with too many notes, and third- when I did finally check the calendar just now, I realized that it's only been a WEEK since I last wrote!! I thought for sure it'd been like 2 weeks! Too bad- I'm writing anyway!!!

And now the funny thing- there's not a whole lot to report!!! I just am really missing people today...

This week started with the totally amazing tribal visit I'd mentioned last letter, and went on to include a "staged mumu", a trip to Goroka, and a hike to the River (my favorite hike here). Good stuff!! We said goodbye to some of the girls helping with Hospitality on Thursday, and then the GI guys (film crew) left this weekend. So it's been quieting down here a bit.

Friday before GI took off, we got to see a very rough cut of what the film "might" be like, and it was amazing. I can't wait to show it to you guys back home. I got to do a lot of new and fun things on this trip because I was part of the "film crew", and I am sooooo thankful for that!! Also, God used these guys to tangibly demonstrate some very God-pleasing characteristics- wisdom, patience, compassion, servanthood, total reliance on the Lord- and I'm really grateful for that as well. ( P.S.- remind me to tell you a really cool story about the family of the camera guy!)

The students are all enjoying their taste of tribal life. This is a very young group- about half of them are 16-19. I've NEVER interacted with this age group before now, and I will say- it's a breath of fresh air. All of them are so obviously in love with the Lord, and already feel like they want to serve God thru missions- and I've just never witnessed that in people of this age group before. It's really awesome! I love the girls the most- they come into the Kitchen to ask how I'm doing, and if they can help with things, they want me to go with them to the village, and to do stuff with them after classes. They invited me to a little "all-girls-night-in-cabin-2"- complete with popcorn-which was fun until they started trying to convince me that one of the GI guys and I were "so MFEO". HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! They make me laugh a lot- it's the best. I know I shouldn't but I totally have my favorites. :) This has been a very good experience!

I'm gonna go straight to some prayer requests now, and also say that I'd love it if you'd send me some for you as well.

1. For guidance and wisdom when talking with the girls.
2. For time with Nationals- I haven't spent a lot of time with nationals here thus far, and I'd like to.
3. For Dave and Sally Cross- an amazing couple who I totally adore- they have been at Interface for 16 years- the entire time they've been married, and they will be leaving permanently just 2 weeks after I leave. So pray for packing and planning, and letting go of a long ministry, and for a smooth transition- of "the reigns" here, and back into western life.
4. For the finishing of this film project- there's been mixed reactions from staff, and I just hope and pray that clear communication results in a finished product that everyone is happy with, and that clearly represents Interface for future participants.
5. For Kara Shaylor- she is one of the ITF coordinators from back home (she and her husband live in Deltona). She has lung problems, and because of the higher altitude here, she's been very sick- to the point that she and Doug had to leave the program and go stay at Lapilo (NTM regional headquarters) so she could be close to the health clinic at all times.
6. For my heart- while I am very happy here, I'm missing people (you guys).
7. For re-connection when I come home.
8. For trip finances.

I've seen my old language helper, Joyce, and her little boy Rich a few times now, and it's been so good! Upon seeing eachother again the first time, we hugged for a good long time. I wanted to see Baby Rich immediately, and while I was holding him, she called me "susa bilong Rich" (Rich's sister), and "pikinini bilong mi" (her daughter). I'd never heard her say that before, and I wanted to cry. (it's a little funny, because she's actually younger than me, but whatever- I've got a Bena Mama)

Oh- one more very cool thing (for me): I got to see the Milky Way here! Like 3 times now! The nights here can be soooo amazingly clear at times, and the stars just stand out so brightly! No ambient/ city lights here to mute them! One night a while back now I noticed that a "cloud arch" wasn't moving- it would have been the only "clouds" in the sky- and I was told it was the Milky Way. Very cool. I see things like that, and the beauty that is every which way you can possibly turn here, and think, "who says there's no Creator? This could have happened by chance?? NO WAY!"

Thank you so much again- just for even reading this, for sending me, and for praying for me. Thank you so much for all that you do! I am so grateful for the family and friends God's put in my life.

Lukim Yu Nau.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

One Amazing Day (Summer Update #1)

Hey Folks!

This isn't even a real "update"- I've been a little sick, and very busy, and haven't had time yet to write something extremely long. (Lucky you :) ) So many cool things have happened! But for now, here's a summary of today (Sunday July 15th for me- still Saturday for you).

First off, let me explain that there are some guys here working on a film project. They're making a short film about ITF, for future promotional use. Well, they need "movie stars", and I get to be part of their team. It's pretty sweet.

Today, my "big assignment" was to go on a trip to a tribe, so we could join the Believers in a worship service. I was so excited!! It was like a mini-sidetrip. So, we loaded up early, and traveled down the Highlands Highway (in the OPPOSITE direction of town- I've never been that way :) ), to a long bumpy road, over a bridge that was really scary because so much of it was missing, to the Yagaria tribe.

I didn't know this, but Yagaria was only the second work New Tribes began in PNG- back in the 1950's. Wow.

We got there, met up with the man who was "hosting" us, Iteve, and then started hiking to the church. This was like a 30 minute hike- down one steep slope and up another, complete with cliffs, water holes, and a mud pit. Waaaaay up at the top of the last ridge, there was a little village with some cool houses, and the church.

The girls and I sat down, and very soon ladies and children from the village started coming up to us and sitting with us. "Detene!" (good morning in Yagaria) I met a little girl named Darcy, and then a lady who explained (in Pidgin) that she was Darcy too- the namesake of the little girl. I got to meet Darcy's mom, and she was Eteve's wife. The ladies were fascinated with my curly hair, so they were playing with it, and I was just loving all of this! We talked and talked until it was time to go in.

So we file in, men on one side, women and children on the other. I'd brought my Pidgin Bible with me, so I could follow along with references. I tend to understand more Pidgin than I can speak, so I was able to follow along for a lot of the service. (Eteve spoke in tok ples, then would repeat what he said in pidgin for us) We sang some songs, and then listened to a message.

I tell you... being there, in that little one room church, on top of a hill, in the middle of the Highlands- it's the best thing. I WISH you could have been there with me... Because these silly typed out words don't do it justice...

Iteve said that though we're from different places, we have "one bel" (one heart), and "one lain" (we're of the same family)- we all belong to God. He said this church doesn't matter to God. The name we give ourselves, and the building- it doesn't matter. What matters is our belief in Jesus- God's son. He said the Bible will straighten your thinking, show you your sin- it's God's talk, and it's got power like nothing else. He said Jesus died on the cross, and that gives us a relationship with God. He referred to 1Peter 2:2 (I think) where it talks about spiritual food, and encouraged us to grow, and come up big- the kind of believer God wants us to be. When we do this, we'll be blessed with spiritual fruit (Gal. 5). He reminded us that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8). We can do good things, but if you're doing it for other men or for yourself, you're coming short of serving God. Jesus' work makes us pleasing to God. He talked about how a new car or a big house can make people in the USA, Australia, New zealand and PNG feel like they're happy, but we need to be filled with happiness from the Holy Spirit. He said that in God's eye, our souls are more expensive than "4 billion dollars". We are priceless to God. He reminded us that we "come up clean already" (John 15:3), and that if we come close to God, He will come close to us (James 4:8).


All this from a man in the middle of the forest, on top of a hill in the mountains of New Guinea.

At the end, the Papa of the tribe stood up, and explained that many years ago, he was the one who had invited the New Tribes missionaries to come there so they could share "God's talk" with them there in Yagaria, and he was so happy to have us there today too, to worship with them and share God's talk again. Like one of the film guys said- "we are in the presence of a saint", and really- this tiny little old man just radiated.

Friends- the church is alive. AND- it is in places you wouldn't even dream of. Today was such a sweet reminder to me that when we get to Heaven, it's not just going to be a "reunion" with just the believers we happened to be friends with. These people I met today are going to be there. The people I'll never see again in Pawaia (from Jan-Feb 2006) are going to be there. The 5 believers I met in Kaul in Feb 2007 will be there. People you and I can't even imagine will be there- from EVERY tribe, tongue and nation. And it WILL be like a reunion- we'll be so happy to see eachother- these people from times past and times still to come- that all worship the One True God. I get emotional just thinking about this- it's such a beautiful thing.

I pray every person reading this will get to MEET these people some day, because we have "One Bel". One heart. Isn't that cool?? You could meet these same people!

I gotta get going- some of the students are having a special little thing tonight and I promised I'd go. I love you, and hope you are doing well! Please write me! It took about 7 days before I started getting homesick! Share prayer requests- I'd love to pray for you!

Friday, June 29, 2007

NEW Prayer Requests (3 days away)

I leave in 3 more days... I can't believe this.

Please pray for me. Satan always ALWAYS attacks me- either right before, or right after one of these trips... (sometimes both) And now is no exception to that.

The biggest thing I am in need of is prayer for heart discipline. Also that I would be open and willing to learning some really hard lessons I believe God's trying to teach me right now. I want sooooo badly to be within God's will concerning this one thing... I pray for deliverance if this situation isn't God's will, and He opens doors instead of closing them. I pray for reduction of self, and instead a whole lot of pride comes out. I pray for GOD'S will to be my will, and I see all of this playing out, and it's just disheartening...

Please pray about trip finances- as of today, I believe there is still $1600 left to raise.

Please praise God with me for His provision of the job that I have- at my school- because my coworkers and some of the kids' parents really overblessed me today. It was so amazing!

I feel like I'm "floating" right now... I don't know what God wants me to do... I'm wishing one situation would be over and done with in one breath, and praying for help and healing in the next.

So please remember me.

And I will remember you. I would LOVE to pray with and for you- for any need that you might have. Please share with me at your discretion. I will still have email access on this trip, and can be reached at

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Prayer Requests

Well, it's crunch time- less than 3 weeks before the Exit, and I'm getting VERY excited! How crazy-blessed am I to get to go AGAIN!?

I do have some prayer requests- some a little sillier than others, but all still are prayer needs.

1. For the team that's going as we travel- it's a pretty large group- I believe 29 total. Please pray for our patience in airports, and for bonding and fellowship in the first few days we're together.

2. For ministry opportunities with these students- I'm going primarily for them- so, please pray that I will be alert to whatever needs they have that may arise.

3. For a roommate for me back home- I would really appreciate one- haven't had one in almost a full year now...

4. (here's a silly one) Like on the last trip, I really want to go on Side Trip if possible! But I'm being more specific this time- I want to go to MADANG on Side Trip! I've been back to PNG twice since 2004, and have not been able to return to Madang... But it's highly likely that one of the side trips will be to there. I have a feeling that this will either be my last trip to PNG, OR it will be a while before I return... and I just want to go back to the first place I visited.

5. For trip finances- as of today, I have about 50% raised, and still need $2200. I'm not at all worried though, because God's definitely proven to be my Great Provider in the past, and praise Him- I think I know better now!

6. For travel plans when I return home in July- my tickets for U.S. travel are close to $1000. Also, I may have to go immediately into a stressful family setting the day after I return, and I really just don't want to... So for God's will to be played out in this.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR PRAYERS!! Please tell me how I can best pray for you as well. It would be such an honor!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Summer 2007 Support Letter

“I’ve called you back from the ends of the earth, you are My servant. I’ve chosen you and will not throw you away. Don’t be afraid- I am with you. Don’t be discouraged- I will strengthen and help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:9-10

These verses came to me as I was preparing to return to the States, and was about to be thrown into a bad situation. God calmed me, and assured me He’s got a purpose for me. I haven’t figured out what that is yet, but praise Him with me for meeting me in this moment!

WOW!! Thank you so much for your prayer and/or financial support of my missions involvement!! This last trip was the best yet! I went intent on serving the students at INTERFACE. And while I did that, the trip turned into much more than just a serving opportunity.

The “big lesson” God spoke to me was if you want to share Christ with someone, you have to be Christ to them first. Love them. Meet them where they are in life, instead of insisting people elevate to your expectations. This is true service!

I saw this first hand with New Tribes too- in principle and practice. A lot of time is spent with the Nationals- learning their language- extensively, not just “enough”, learning the culture and practices, learning about the people- their families, joys, sorrows.  The missionaries pour their lives into the people they serve.  They want to be a part of their lives, and to see them in Heaven some day. They want them to understand clearly that Jesus is the only way to the Father

It isn’t about which day you worship, the songs you sing, or order of prayer.  It’s not about what or how much you can give up “for God”.  It’s not about being right, or letting someone else know they’re wrong.  (oh man do I feel convicted on those!!)  It’s not about having the answer all the time!  It IS about loving people, meeting needs, and showing Christ thru your actions and words.  It is about dying to self.  And all of this is summarized in the sweet word “Relationship”.  It all boils down to our relationship with the Lord, followed by our relationships with others, and our dying relationship with the World.

It was the relationships I encountered that were the most enjoyable element to me.  I loved getting to know the students- what an awesome group just sold out for the Lord!  I got to know the staff better too, and I treasure them even more now!  The best was getting to know the Nationals.  I absolutely loved being with the ladies every day in the kitchen, and then seeing them in the villages or on the road.  Meeting little Lime (leemay) and Apahe (a-pa-hay) again (the children in the picture) was such a treat! Learning language with them, laughing and playing, and walking home together… It warmed my heart, and built in me a desire to serve them more.

And now, that is why I am returning in July and August.  To continue to build relationships with those same people.  I will be serving in the same capacity as I did this time- helping in the kitchen, doing office stuff, running the snack bar occasionally, and just meeting needs for the students in any way that I can.  I can’t even tell you how excited I am!  YAY!!!

I beg you to pray with me:
1.  Praise for this new opportunity- God has really opened the right doors to allow me to return from July 2- August 10, 2007.
2.  For trip finances ($4000), and for home finances while I’m gone.
(If you, thru prayer, feel led to donate toward my missions
involvement, you can do so securely online here.)
3.  Satan loves attacking after mountain top experiences, and these past few months being home have been no exception to that.  Please pray for:
- my relationship with the Lord– that it would grow, and
for submission to His will over my own.
- heart issues that have arisen that I’m struggling with
- fellowship opportunities
- deeper friendships and trust to grow
- a roommate
I want you to know you are cherished! You are so important to me!  May I pray for you as well? It would be an honor to serve you thru prayer, or in any other tangible way. I’d love to hear how you’re doing, what you’ve been up to recently, and to just reconnect with you some time.  I thank you so much for your support and encouragement. 
Thank you so much for sending me!!  I look forward to serving you soon!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Missions Video

Note to viewers:
This little movie contains views that I can only claim as my own. They are not necessarily that of New Tribes, Revolution, or Northland. It's going to be fairly clear how I feel about some stuff, and what I believe about the world's perspective on serving versus a Christ-centered perspective. One who is "lukewarm", or maybe not a Believer at all, may find its content questionable. I hope, instead, you find it commendable.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

PNG 2007 Slide Show

PNG Update #3: Side Trip, Lessons, and the Return "Home"

Oh boy… Big shame on me… I’ve been back in the States since Feb. 13, and back in Orlando since Feb. 22, and I’m only NOW getting to an update?? Uh-oh… Well, lots to cover then!

In the last email I’d sent from PNG, I’d said I was able to go on the Side Trip with the students. We split into 2 teams for this, and my team went to Kandrian, West New Britain (in the Islands J) to a little village called Ais (“ice”) to visit the Kaul tribe. The church there is very small- 5 believers! 3 men and 2 of their wives. There is a large Catholic influence in Kandrian that goes back many years now, and leaving the “church” is highly looked down upon. These 5 men and women are very much shunned in the village and by their families- all for the sake of believing in Christ as their only hope for Salvation.

Their perseverance and love of Our Lord and of Truth is so inspiring! Because of their faith, they don’t have to look hard or go far to find trouble. It literally comes to them- in the village, in the market, etc. This was encouraging to me also because these men (and their wives) are roughly my age. They ranged from 22 to about 35 (hmmmm… Revolution age- let’s branch out! J)

My favorite thing by far was our time spent in worship with the Believers. At the beginning, one of the men got up and did a complete run-through of the Chronological teaching up to the point where they were because one family member was present who’d missed several weeks. He spoke in pidgin, so I could understand him, and that was really cool! Then, the man who taught the day’s lesson had never taught before, and was very nervous, being that he had “special company” to talk to also. He spoke in tok ples (“talk place”- pidgin term for the tribal language), so we couldn’t understand him. I could follow along in my Bible when he gave scripture references though. He was teaching on Cain and Abel, and how their offerings were different, and how God accepted the blood sacrifice of Abel, but not the grain sacrifice of Cain. I could see that he was so nervous his hands were shaking! I kept praying for him throughout- that his message would be clear and accurate, and for God to calm his nerves. Later on, talking to the missionaries, they reported that he’d done a very good, thorough, accurate job of teaching. Yay!

There was AWESOME beauty all around in the Islands, and plenty of fun stuff to do too- like swimming/canoeing (our house was literally a stone’s throw from the ocean), snorkeling (beautiful reefs!), hiking, playing with the nationals, etc. This side trip was amazing! Thank you so much for your prayer support for it!

I was glad to return to Goroka though! That, to me, is home. Interface specifically. I love the campus, the people I know will be there, the Bena people who are constantly walking thru Interface, their little villages, the dirt road, everything. I love riding in PMV’s to Lapilo (NTM Highlands Headquarters) and visiting all the missionaries there- several of whom I know personally now. And the thing I like most- the Market! (figures- I’m a girl’s girl, and I still love shopping- even if it’s for coconuts, kumu, and meri blouses J)

It’s funny to me- on each of the trips that I’ve taken, I have definitely learned valuable lessons. But when I really think about it, they seem to be the most obvious things! It’s just like a light bulb turns on for the first time in my head… I don’t like that these seemingly simple, obvious things aren’t so obvious to me naturally, but I am very glad to learn the lessons nonetheless, and know that God’s timing for revealing things to me (and you) is perfect regardless.

In 2004, the big lesson was that the fruit of my obedience to Christ is not my responsibility- my responsibility is to be obedient to Christ. I could do what the Lord tells me to do, and never find out the reason behind it, or see “fruit” of that action, or even fully understand why I’m doing it. But it doesn’t matter- He doesn’t call me to understand all things, but to follow Him in all things.

In 2006, the lessons were two-fold: first, that nothing is beyond God. No detail of my life falls outside of His gaze. He is in control of my life, and is worthy of my trust. I can’t even begin to convey how comforting that single truth has been- especially throughout the course of 2006 (a very “laden” year for me). The second lesson is taken from a movie I watched called “The Cross and The Crescent”- dealing with outreach to Muslims- “the power of the Gospel is greater than the powers of this world. Do not be intimidated by the difficulties you will face. We, as humans, can reach peoples’ ears, but the Holy Spirit will bring the message down to their hearts. We can water, take care, and cultivate. But GOD does the growing. That is very important for us to know! The burden is NOT on our shoulders- but is on the Cross. We must be vessels- the hands and feet and mouths of God to deliver the message as accurately and faithfully as we can.”

2007 didn’t exactly bring a new message, but it really drove home something I think the Lord has been revealing to me since about August of 2006- and that is the importance of relationship. It’s all about relationship. It really is! If you want to share Christ with someone, BE Christ to them first. Love them. Meet them where they are in life, instead of insisting people meet you, and elevate to your expectations. This is true service!! I see this in several ministries I support: “To Write Love On Her Arms” (reaches out to people battling depression and/or addictions), the XXX Church (reaches out to porn stars and others in the pornography industry), Word Made Flesh (meets a variety of community needs in different parts of the world- and specifically working with women in the sex industry in Calcutta).

I saw this first hand in New Guinea too- both the principle and the practice. Lots of missions organizations will go into a place, and immediately present the Gospel to the people they meet. They feel such an urgency- and that is surely to be commended. But when haste is the practice, and “conversions” the goal, there is a danger that arises: that the Message is distorted, that beliefs will be mixed, and that true faith is not the fruit.

I love that what I witnessed was completely different! A lot of time is spent with these nationals. Time learning their language- extensively, not just “enough”, time learning about their culture and practices, time learning about the people- their families, their joys, sorrows. The missionaries I’ve encountered pour their lives into the people they are there to serve. It’s so inspiring to see too… They want to be a part of their lives, and they want to be able to see them in Heaven some day, and they want them to understand clearly, without question, that Jesus is the only way to the Father. Not any work of man, not any chant, not how much money they have or give.
It is not about the day you worship, or the songs you sing, or order of prayer. It’s not about what you can give up “for God”, or what you do or don’t practice. It’s not about being right, or letting someone else know they’re wrong. (oh man do I feel convicted on those!!) It’s not about having the answer all the time! It IS about loving the people God has put in your life. Meeting needs. Showing them Christ thru your actions and words. Dying to self. (that’s huge by the way) And all of this can be summed up in the sweet word “Relationship”. It all boils down primarily to our relationship with the Lord, closely followed by our relationships with others, and our ever-dying relationship with the World.

So it’s all about relationship. Building relationships. My close friends can vouch- this is tough for me. (ask me about my homegroup history some time ) I welcome the challenge though, and look forward to what God’s doing in my heart and in my life. Praise God that I can at least see the importance!

And it was the relationships on this trip that were the most enjoyable element to me. I loved getting to know the students- what an awesome, dynamic group of people just sold out for the Lord! I got to know the staff better too, and I treasure them even more now! But the best was getting to know some of the Nationals. Remember- some of them remembered me from last year, so they got to know me better too. Julie, Rose, Efeke, Kessie- just to name a few. I absolutely loved being with them every day in the kitchen, and then seeing them on occasion in the villages or on the road, getting to sit down and work on our bilums together, or just “story” back and forth- practicing my Pidgin. Meeting little Lime (leemay) and Apahe (a-pa-hay) again (the children from the road at New Camp) and getting to spend time with them, playing “pig pig dog” and tag and the limbo in the villages- that was pure joy for me. I even got to see the lady who’s baby died while I was there last year. That was why I went!

And now, that is why I am returning in July and August. To continue to build relationships with those same people. I will be serving in the same capacity as I did this time- helping in the kitchen, doing office stuff where needed, running the snack bar occasionally, and just meeting needs for the students in any way that I can. I can’t even tell you how excited I am! My local friends will vouch- I’m literally bouncing off the walls I’m so excited!

Back here in the States... I wanted a buffer between the trip and "home", so I spent time with some friends in Colorado before diving into life here. A very good thing too! It was wonderful to be in a completely different environment, collect my thoughts, ask for advice, play with the kids, and sleep. There's been some inevitable stress, but different from last year (and anything is better than that experience!). I'm being daily reminded of my dependence on the Lord, and the importance of staying connected with my friend relationships here too.

I beg you to pray with me:
1. For this new trip (praise for the opportunity), for finances, and for the other team members.
2. For wisdom in planning, time management, money management, etc. I still have not completely ruled out going to Calcutta, and am earnestly seeking the Lord’s will on this.
3. Satan loves attacking after mountain top experiences, and this was no exception to that. Please pray for heart issues that have arisen- that I’d leave God in control, and be submissive to His will- consistently.

I want you to know you are cherished! You are so important to me! May I pray for you as well? It would be an honor to serve you thru prayer, or in any other tangible way. I thank you so much for your support and encouragement.

Thank you so much for sending me!!

Monday, January 22, 2007

PNG Update #2 (long, but there's a story in here :)

Wow!! 19 days still to spend in Paradise- 21 till I see American soil. Time flies when you're having fun :).

I want to thank you again for your prayers and support of all natures. I'm so very thankful to be here in PNG, and this trip couldn't have happened without you!

This trip has been everything I prayed for. The biggest thing I desired was to build relationships with the students, staff, and Bena- and God has definitely allowed that to happen. The students and Assist team members are fantastic. Good friendships have been forged amongst us, and I know we'll be in touch for times to come. It'll be neat to hear about what they do in the future- either with missions or in daily life.

Just like last year, I find myself spending a LOT of time in the evenings with Dave and Sally Cross- a dear couple who just pour themselves into whomever is around them. They are such good role-models, and so inviting! Also very good sources of wisdom and encouragement. Sally heads up the kitchen too, so I get double time with her.

And the Nationals- that's the best part for me. When I arrived here, a few of the girls in the Kitchen recognized me. Julie was one who remembered me from last year. Then going to the village on different occasions now, I've been able to spend time with Joyce- my old language helper (and her baby), Quala- who had baby Jill with her last year (Jill now lives in Goroka with another relative), Lucy- a lady who does laundry here who remembered me, and Yagaso- the grandma of the village. A few days ago, we walked to another village, "New Camp", and I saw the same children walking on the road that I saw last year! Yesterday (Monday for me), we went up to the village for Market Day, and all the girls from the Kitchen called out to me by name. That is soooo cool!!

Yesterday in Yamo-yalo (closest village) at the market, I ran into Julie from the Kitchen. She was carrying a bilum (string bag) that she was still working on, and I told her she should help me with mine. She said to bring it to the Kitchen that night when we were both working. She also introduced me to her daughter, Joy. I forgot my bilum, because I was in such a rush to get to the kitchen in the afternoon, but she did ask me about it, and I told her I was sorry, I'd bring it tomorrow (today). Later on while working, Julie started saying something in Pidgin, and I couldn't quite follow. Sally told me she was saying that she's been watching me, and that she admired me, thought I was pretty, and liked having me around the kitchen when she worked. I got so bashful then! I said "thank you true" and turned bright red. But I was sooooooooooo very happy!! Yay! I really like Julie too.

Sally and I got stuck in the kitchen for an extra half hour last night because of a small storm, so we sat, drank coffee and chatted. I asked her about the work meris- are any of them believers? She said no, there was only one believer in the group (of about 10 I think) that she knew of for sure. I asked, "What about Julie?" She told me no. Since she's known Julie, she's been with several different men, all of whom (she claims) have left her because she can't have children (it turns out Joy is her adopted daughter- probably taken from another family member). Some she's been married to, and some she hasn't. Apparently, she hasn't really shown interest in hearing the teaching from the missionaries who work among the Bena.

Instantly- in hearing (a little of) her story- my heart just went out to her. Many of you know my testimony- I would be willing to bet that this lady and I have some parallel areas- in spite of our cultural differences. She and I have experienced the same hurts, felt the same pain... I wish she would know the Lord, and find His peace and rest and comfort... It makes me so sad to think that she doesn't have that right now, and is blind to the fact that she needs Him!

That leads me to Prayer Requests:
1. For Julie- that someday her heart will melt, and that she would come to know the Lord.
2. For the Bena people- who haven't shown great interest in the Bible teachings over the past year. I want to see these people in Heaven! They have become so dear to me.
3. For my perseverence with time spent in the Word and with the Lord. I could definitely do better in this area...
3. PRAISE- I get to go on sidetrip!! YAY!! So also for safety while flying, and while in the tribe.
4. PRAISE- ALL of my trip money has now been raised. God is so good and faithful- why do I ever doubt?!

Well folks, I haven't yet been fired from working in the kitchen, but have instead been given more independant jobs and less instruction. I guess there's a girl who can cook hiding inside me somewhere :).

Love and miss you all! Wish you were here!


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

PNG Update #1

Dear All!

You are very much missed and loved!! Ok, I had to get that out... I just got access to email yesterday, and I feel like there's already so much to say!! I won't overwhelm with every detail, though it is tempting... Hopefully I can send some pictures in the future. I'm too tired to deal with that right now though :).

First, Thank you to those who came out last Sunday to Jess's place- that meant so much to me!

I can't even tell you in adequate words what I felt flying into Goroka. And coming up the bumpy muddy rocky road to ITF... It didn't take long to unpack and get settled into my little round house (no cabin this year). And now- I am where and as I've wanted to be since I left this place last year. My feet are dirty (had to wear the rainboots today!), my tummy's full, my bug net is up, I'm wearing skirts, and cooking constantly (can you even imagine!?). I am HOME. I am so happy, and feel so blessed to be here! Again!

With that feeling comes another, of contemplation I guess... Good thing I'm in our Father's hands. I will say though- I covet your prayers on my behalf in regards to decision making and future missions involvement.

My time here at ITF will mainly be spent helping in the Kitchen- we cook for 45-60 people at a time, plus have to prepare things in advance for Side Trip (when the students visit a tribe). They've also got me running the Kai Bar (snack bar) between classes, and doing little office jobs too. I am thankful that God has allowed for ample time to spend with the students- this is such a good group! They're who I came to serve, and I'm really enjoying doing so, and getting to know them. I have lots of time to spend with Sally- my favorite staff person here, and her husband Dave- both very good sources of encouragement and wise counsel.

I've been to the villages once thus far- haven't seen my old language helper, but heard she had a baby. Lots of familiar faces, but it's hard to put names and faces together quite yet... The ladies who help in the kitchen remembered me, which I thought was kinda cool.

On Sunday, the speaker during church talked about having a passion for God, versus inadvertently having a passion for other things over God. It's so easy to forget that love for God is more than just knowledge OF Him, more than just obeying rules we think will please Him... It's the most important thing! Paul prays in Eph.1:7 that we would be blessed with wisdom and revelation, so that we would know God better. Paul is referring to an experiential knowledge here. I hope each of you grows in this type of knowledge of Our God.

I do have some prayer requests- some are kind of silly, but still they're requests!

1. For the teaching in the Bena tribe- they heard the Gospel in 2006, but seem to have a very low level of spiritual interest, and lots of "lotu-ism", or "playing church" without true belief. This area has been very "missionized" in the past, by people who had good intentions, but didn't communicate the message in an effective manner. The result now is very mixed beliefs, and real reluctance to any different message (including the Truth).
2. (this is the silly one) I really would like to go on Side Trip with the students! This would be a total bonus for me.
3. For finances to continue to come in for me- especially since I want to go on sidetrip, because that's an extra $200 or so (since we have to fly into the location).
4. For health to maintain- Last year I wasn't sick at all, and I've already been sick after just a week here...
5. For stamina- it's easy to want to nap in the sun, or on my breaks, and I want to be as helpful and involved as possible. Jetlag stinks...
6. For the Spirit's control over my mind- it's easy to think about situations I left behind, and it's very easy for me to get homesick. It took 4 days for it to kick in last year, this year it took a full 8- so that's improvement! I just pray that my focus would be on Christ first, students and staff next, and the surrounding Bena.

I love you all, and wish you could be here too! I wish you could witness the beauty of this place. You'd never want to leave either. Please send me your prayer requests, if you have any- that I may pray for you more effectively.