Saturday, April 24, 2010

Your Prayers

Thanks so much for your prayers on behalf of the school students that were planning to leave our Christian school for the government school several hours away. Brother Randy was able to meet with the two young men after church on Wednesday and discussed the problems that they would face if they choose to leave. He told the boys to come the next morning before school and tell him their decision. They each came separately and said that they had decided to stay and finish out the year. What a blessing! This a real answer to prayer and an evidence of the work of the Lord in their hearts as their decision to stay went against everything their culture and unsaved families would pressure them to do. Thanks for your intercession on their behalf.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Babies and School Kids

It's been sort of an up and down week. To start things off, last Sunday one of the national preachers approached me before afternoon church and told me that his sister and her husband had walked several hours to bring their sick baby for me to look at. I immediately went to his house to see it and found a quite lethargic 11-month-old, working very hard to breathe and burning up with fever. We went straight up to the clinic and I gave him a penicillin shot, a liquid antibiotic, and a bronchodilator (to ease his breathing). The parents brought him back every morning throughout the week for another penicillin shot. By the end of the week, his breathing was much easier and he seemed much better. But this morning (Monday), I got word that he had died during the night. It's the first baby I have lost since coming here, so that's a real blow, besides the fact that he really seemed to be better the last time that I saw him. In addition, I don't think either of his parents are saved.

On Thursday morning, a young Christian couple from church brought their 6-month old baby to the clinic. She also was having a hard time breathing and had actually stopped breathing several times during the night and once right there in the clinic. I gave her an antibiotic shot as well, and then Brother Randy was able to drive them a few hours to the nearest airstrip where they were able to fly to a government hospital. (We offered to take the other baby as well, but the parents declined.) As of yesterday, that baby is still alive and improving. Please pray for the continued healing of Joanna along with her parents Tu and Wari as well as for the comfort of Gabriel's family in his loss.

The school side of things is bringing its share of heartache as well. As I may have mentioned, age does not correlate with grade here, so several of our 4th graders are 18 or older. Due to some conduct issues, we did not reenroll some of last year's 3rd graders and they left home to go to a government school (about 6 hours away). The government school is on break this week and some of those kids have come back with rosy tales. Because of the quality of our education, the kids that had finished 3rd grade in our school were accepted into 6th grade in the community school and are finding the work much easier. This is tempting two of the 4th grade boys to leave our school and join them. I think this is an unwise decision from an academic standpoint (as they are getting a better education here and will be farther ahead the longer they stay with us), but I am more concerned from a spiritual standpoint. As I spoke with one of the boys today, I was encouraging him to pray and seek God's will and not just follow his own desires. Every time I brought that up, he looked anywhere but at me. I really fear for their walk with the Lord if they put their own plans over God's, not to mention that they will be far away from a Bible preaching church and the accountability of pastor, parents, and godly authorities. The boys have to make their decision this week as they would need to be at the government school by Monday. Please pray that they will seek and follow God's leading.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

House Building

Things are progressing slowly but steadily on my house project, and I'm learning about PNG culture in the process. I purchased the land last week from one of the men in the church. I got about 2500 square feet for $40! Don't you wish you lived here? Of course, it's kind of like buying land in the Everglades. I own a plot of land on the edge of a cliff in the middle of nowhereJ I actually offered about $50 for the land and was told that was too much and we settled on $40.

One of the challenges of the project is that just about every man in the village wants to be involved. So we made a list of all the various materials needed (from support posts to wood for the frame to woven mats for the walls) and figured that we need about 25 men for supplies. Those things we will assign to various unsaved men from the different neighborhoods or clans within the village (trying to avoid any accusations of favoritism). Then we are using Christian guys to do the actual construction work (so I don't have to worry about my nails disappearing). A group of guys came Saturday and dug out another meter of ground to enlarge the flat area where I plan to build. Tuesday they came to dig twelve holes for the support posts. The next step is to gather all the bush materials needed to actually build the house. I am very excited about the project and anxious to see how it will progress in the days ahead.

In other news, Ellie, another teen girl, made a profession of faith on Sunday. She had made a profession some years ago but had not really been living for the Lord. She now says that she didn't really understand what she was doing previously. The Lord has recently provided a national couple to serve as the youth leaders for the church. The wife of the couple and I are dividing up these girls to start discipleship classes with them. (She is taking the girls who read poorly or not at all and I am taking those who read better.) Please pray for the growth of these girls and their protection from the pressures of a heathen culture.