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.
PHASE ONE TEACHING BEGINNING AGAIN
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,