Monday, March 29, 2010


This seems to be the month for sharing things that are on my heart, so I thought I might as well continue the trend. This week I want to tell you about our need for teachers and even give you some specifics in case the Lord might lead you in our direction.

We have a small Christian school called Joy Christian School (JCS). There are several purposes for the school but the main one is to provide a place where the young people of our church can get a Christian education that will equip them to be the pastors, deacons, and Sunday school teachers of the future church of PNG. Education is not mandatory here, so many children do not have an opportunity to attend school and even those that do often get a quite poor education.

At present, JCS has 1st, 2nd, and 4th grades, but since students start school at any age our students range from 9 to 18 years old, with a mixture of ages in each grade. English is the national language of PNG so all education is conducted in that language. This enables us to use Bob Jones University Press materials for most of the school subjects. As you may recall, we are awaiting the arrival of Elizabeth Ellinghausen, a short term teacher for the school. She will teach during the remainder of this school year and 1-2 more years. Tiffany Parks, our present head teacher, will return to the US at the end of this school year to make plans for her future ministry in the Philippines. That will leave us once again with one full-time teacher and my part-time assistance to teach 3 grades of students. We would love to start a prep (or kindergarten) class for the many interested young people of our church, but that is impossible without another full-time teacher.

So what exactly is the need, you may ask. We need folks who are willing to give 1-2 years to come to a rather remote location and participate in this ministry. An education degree would be nice but not essential. However, an adaptable spirit and servant's heart are absolutely necessary. Our school year attempts to follow a PNG schedule, so each new year starts sometime in January. As you may have deduced from Elizabeth's long wait, sometimes paperwork approval can take a lengthy time so that would be good to keep in mind. If you have an interest in this ministry, please feel free to communicate with us directly or with our mission agency (Gospel Fellowship Association).

Monday, March 22, 2010

More Prayer Burdens

I have been struck recently with the vital importance of the prayers of God's people. As a missionary on the foreign field, I can only do so much, but through your prayers the Holy Spirit will work in the hearts of the people to whom I minister, bringing lasting fruit. It is for this reason that I often share with you the prayer burdens that are on my own heart and this blog entry is no exception.

First, thank you for your continued prayers for the teen girls in my Sunday school class. Another girl came forward at the morning service yesterday. When I asked her why she had come, she said that she wanted to repent (the Pidgin term for becoming a Christian). I asked why she needed to repent and she stated that she was a sinner and needed God to save her. What a blessing! Please pray for Mwhity along with the other 4 girls saved in recent months (Regina, Wendy, Jaunika, and Jocelyn). [Note: I sometimes hesitate to list the names of new believers as it seems to sometimes result in a special attack of the enemy, so please do not sin against them in ceasing to pray for them.]

Today at clinic I had opportunity to speak to a young couple that I am burdened for. The woman, Anita, had come to clinic a few months ago and immediately caught my attention. Her dress, manner, and speech indicated that she had had a bit broader education and experience than is common amongst the women in our village. I asked her where she was from and she stated that she had just come from Port Moresby (the capital city of PNG). It was school break time, so I figured that she had just come for a visit and thought no more about it. When she came back today though, I asked her if she was staying in our village permanently. When she answered affirmatively, I asked if she attended church anywhere. She replied that she had attended a Baptist church before but had left her church clothes behind when she had come to our village. I, of course, told her not to worry about clothes but that we would be thrilled to have her at church. I made a mental note of her name so that I would remember it if she should take me up on my invitation.

A few patients later, I saw a man from her same neighborhood that I knew well from previous contacts. His name is Mishach and he unfortunately has rather a bad reputation in the village. As I greeted him, I realized that Anita's last name had been listed as Mishach. (In PNG, a married woman takes her husband's first name as her last name.) So I asked him about her and he smilingly confirmed that she was his new wife. I told him that I had invited her to church and told him that he should come as well. He dropped his head and told me that he had been saved some years previously but had backslidden. I continued to encourage him to come. Please pray for a real working of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of this young couple.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Prayer Burden

I want to share with you a burden that has been on my heart for some time for the ministry here. I am concerned for our young people. I know that have mentioned the teens from time to time, and they definitely face a number of struggles. But the particular group I am thinking of are not even teenagers yet. Most them are 8-12 years old and many of them have Christian homes where both their parents are saved and even church members. But they have not yet made a personal decision to trust Jesus Christ as their own Savior from sin.

They are a new phenomenon here – second generation Christians. All of the adults in our church were saved in their 20s or even older. Most of them had never even heard the gospel as children. But now we have a crop of young people who have been in church for most of their lives, can recite numerous Bible verses and Bible stories, and can sing nearly every song in the hymn book. Yet they are as lost as those who have never set foot in the church. A few of them are even students in our Christian school.

Please pray that the Lord will do a convicting work in the hearts of these young people. Pray that they will recognize their personal need of a Savior and have the courage to make the decision necessary.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Usual

Things have actually been pretty normal around here for a change. Clinic attendance is up and averaging more than 20 patients each day. I am told that the local government health worker is out of medicine as is the nearest government clinic (about a 6 hour walk away). I am seeing patients from as far as 8 hours away. Pretty amazing!

A man passed away in the Kensa neighborhood last week. He was older and had gone to the government hospital in town. It was quite the production figuring out how to get his body back so it could be properly mourned and buried. They ended up flying the coffin into the airstrip and Brother Randy went and picked it up. He was related to several of our church families and 2 of our school students.

Another one of the teen girls went forward for salvation on Sunday. That makes 4 girls in my Sunday school class that have made professions. What a blessing to see the Lord at work!

I'll close with a humorous side note. Last night I went to a fellowship in one of the neighborhoods of our village. I was sitting there in the hut with a dirt floor, a grass roof, and a fire in the center of the hut. The children sitting next to me were barefoot as was the older couple seated on the ground. One of our national preachers was leading the singing, but he had to stop to turn off the cell phone that was ringing in his pocket. What a clash of cultures and times!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

House Building

Several weeks ago I asked you to pray about a decision that I was considering. The decision is now made and I am free to share it with you. For some time, I have desired to move away from the mission station proper to an area that is closer to where the people live. The mission station (which includes the Smiths' house, the clinic, the school, and the duplex where Tiffany and I live) is situated on the top of a mountain above where the airstrip is being built. The other houses in the village are scattered around in groupings called house lines (sort of like our neighborhoods). There is one house line about a 20 minute hike above us, a small house line about 10 minutes below us, and then another 15 minutes down the road leads you to the church and the first of a group of 3-4 more house lines.

The problem for me moving into one of the house lines is that I have to be close to the clinic to be available for emergencies. This dilemma had me stumped for quite a while. But, as I was praying about it, I realized that I could move into the house line just below the mission station and still be only about 10 minutes from the clinic. I'll spare you the story of the process, but suffice it to say that I am now in the beginning stages of building a house in that house line. It is just behind the home of Silas and Alice. (Silas is one of our national preachers and Alice is my clinic helper.) It will be very national in style and setup, so I will be able to have most of the work done by men in our community.

I am very excited about this move and hope to accomplish several things through it. 1) It will make me more available and approachable to the people. 2) Living close to them will increase my understanding of their culture and hopefully also aid my study of the village language. 3) It will give me more opportunities for casual contacts and just to spend time with the women of the village. Please pray for the Lord's direction in the project and that it will indeed be a help and not a hindrance to the ministry here in Kiari.