Friday, June 20, 2014

General update from Mibu

Here in Mibu we continue to plug along with translation and church development efforts. We're encouraged to see how God continues to work here in the hearts and lives of the Mibu people.

Shannon and the kids recently finished out the school year. Rather than take a 'summer break' and have the kids sit in boredom we are actually trying to continue with certain school subjects each day, some where they need catching up and others that will just be good to get a bit ahead in. It keeps things regimented and scheduled and purposeful for the kids and not only helps out with their continuing growth in education but with maintaining family bliss :)

We're starting to ramp things up in preparation for our co-workers, the Walker's, return in September. Lots of logistics being worked out to get the needed tools and supplies in here to renovate their house and make it more functional for them as a family. We find ourselves much busier than we anticipated just trying to work out the logistics! Our email system has been unreliable and intermittent, adding to the difficulty of trying to work all these things out. We're getting really excited though to have the Walkers back to help with the workload here. We're also looking forward to the team coming from Sun Valley Community Church who are planning to come help with the renovations.

Along those lines, we are happy to announce that the Mibu team now has a satellite internet system on the way! The last couple years have made it painfully obvious just how necessary having our own internet access has become for things such as email, voice, and other communications, computer and software updates, finances, and many other matters of business. So we're excited to have finally taken the leap here. It'll be a few months before it is shipped and installed and up and working. We hope it's a tool that will save us a great deal of time in many areas and allow us to focus on being more effective in our service here!

A couple days ago, I (Geoff) had an unexpected overnight on an airstrip not too far away. We had supplies being flown in for ourselves and for the Walkers which required a fair bit of management on the ground. I needed to go up to the airstrip where the helicopter was to rendezvous with a plane bringing our stuff. Things went late and all three of us, the helicopter pilot, the plane pilot and myself got fogged in about 2pm and had to wait and watch the weather the rest of the afternoon, and were eventually consigned to stay the night there. We were thankful for a willing and friendly host who fed us and gave us a warm place to sleep for the night. This left Shannon and all four kids alone in Mibu for the day to handle the supplies that had come in. Again, we were thankful that one of Shannon's good friends here in the village offered to help sort things out with her in my absence. All this simply to show that little unexpected things like this happen as we serve here. It can be interesting and challenging.

One of our friends out in town posted this video of the helicopter landing in Mibu. Gives a little aerial perspective for those who may wonder where we live and what it looks like. Just follow this link to watch


Friday, May 16, 2014

Man on a Mission

Recently we were really touched and encouraged by one of the believers here who seems to have been paying attention to the leading of God's Spirit in his life.

Skyler hurt her wrist quite badly climbing a tree the other day. We weren't sure if something was sprained, broken, or what. Obviously these kinds of concerns are compounded by the fact that we have no medical facility or doctor here in Mibu. One concern is whether or not we need to fly out to town to see the doctor, which is very cost prohibitive and reserved only for emergencies if we can. So during one of the church meetings, when people were sharing praise and prayer points, we asked that people pray for Skyler and for us as a family while we try to figure this injury out.

The next morning, I was sitting in my office getting ready to work on translation when a friend of mine, Manggape, came in, apologized for interrupting and asked if I had time to pray with him. Actually, it was the other way around. He came up to pray specifically for Skyler. He told me that he's been doing this for people here (and other places too) who need prayer. Wow! I was touched by the thoughtfulness and sincerity.

But I was even more touched to listen to his humble prayer. He had no notion of rubbing a lucky rabbit's foot, as it were, but was simply expressing his (and our) total dependency on the Lord for all in our lives, including illness and injury. I wish I had recorded his prayer to transcribe for you because it really was faithful and moving. The prayer was built on the worshipful acknowledgement that God always was and always will be, and that he is the creator/owner of everything including us. The way Manggape asked Jesus for his help was such a humble reminder of our total dependence on him! "God, we don't have medicine and doctors here and so we depend on you for even these little things like when we get sick and hurt."

Manggape is one of those who has heard the direction God is leading him and he's definitely fit into his calling as he's responded in faith. It was very encouraging to us to be the recipients of his service in this way.

By the way, Skyler's wrist seems to be on the mend, though slowly. We have it in a splint right now. It's looking like we shouldn't have to go out to town to see the doctor. Thank you Lord, for both Manggape and for your healing touch!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Strengthening and Encouraging

Early this morning, before even the first rays of sunlight shown, a large contingency from the Mibu church departed for a week long 'patrol' of all the outreach churches where they hope to strengthen and also to be strengthened. They were hoping to spend time in each area with the believers and leaders there to worship together and help firm up certain areas of ministry and their focus.

Areas that they plan on discussing cover things like bible teaching, translation, literacy, family, and women's ministry, and also the leadership and oversight of these areas.

Also, inspired by the generosity of other national churches such as Dinangat and Inapang, who have sent gifts with the Mibus in the past, they are bringing a sizable gift to be given to one of the villages to help them toward costs associated with getting their literacy program up and running again. Another awesome benefit of the Mibu Literacy Store (which you've read about in previous updates) coupled with the work of the Holy Spirit in these folks!

We would ask you to pray for all these meetings that are to happen over the next week, ending next Tuesday or Wednesday. Pray for the spirit of unity to be strengthened by these times together, and that the church's vision and purpose will be all the clearer as God's word continues to spread and take roots. We're thrilled to see the church here taking the initiative with these meetings, which arose out of a sensed need of more connectedness and support among the groups of believers here.

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We depend on God working through you, our sending church back home, to be able to live and serve the church here in Mibu, continuing to be a part of seeing them grow through to maturity through ongoing translation efforts, leadership development and personal discipleship. Through your prayers and regular generous financial gifts, we've all been blessed to see a church here not just born in Mibu, but to begin to grow into a mature indigenous church. There is still a lot of work to be done and so we would ask that if you've not yet taken the opportunity to be a part of the Mibu Ministry with your finances that you would consider it now. We're currently about $1600 per month short of what is recommended to serve the church in Mibu most effectively. Your regular monthly gift could go a long way toward meeting this need. Please follow the link below to see the several easy, tax deductible ways to give and be a part of the effort here to grow the Mibu church.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Growing Leaders

You may remember not too long ago that we asked for your prayers for an upcoming leadership study here in Mibu. We're excited to report that it went very well! Thank you for praying!

First off, there were far more people than I had planned on! I planned for 15 or less. 26 showed up! Then a few casual observers couldn't help participating too, bringing the numbers up to over 30! I only bought 20 books!!! That's OK. If there's one thing we're used to having to do here, it's being flexible.

We were so pleased to see that leaders from every outreach village saw this as important enough to travel all the way here (some even with their families) and camp out for the two weeks planned for the study! Wow! It's a rare time when we can get this many of the area church leaders together in the same place at the same time! How awesome to be able to spend time with all of them together!

Once I saw how the numbers were growing I was quite nervous. As I said, I had only planned for a small group. The format was intended to be very casual to promote more personal discussion and not so much standing up and teaching at people. I wasn't sure how that was going to work out with so many folks. But thank God the discussions went well! We were reading through a book on leadership that one of my expat friends here recently wrote in Pidgin English. We went through and discussed the various points being made about being a good leader and about living the life of faith. I was so so pleased to see everyone's hearts challenged with areas they need to grow in! There were even several teachers with whom I've had discussions in the past regarding behavior and attitudes that are hurting their ability to lead (and with whom other believers have approached regarding the same) who openly confessed these areas and talked about how they might see victory in overcoming them! WOW! In fact, I noted that every major concern I've had for various individuals was recognized by them. Each one, at one point or another talked about how they struggled in this or that area.

One day, we hope that we can be finished handing over the responsibility of the church here to the leaders here in Mibu. We're always moving closer to this goal. On the whole, we are seeing God at work in our leaders. Our hope is that this recent time together and the various topics of leadership and personal growth we covered would take them another step toward readiness to serve in whatever capacity God has for them. Yesterday (Friday) was the last day we met and everyone voiced how encouraged and challenged they were by this study.

While it was a real pleasure to take time out for this leadership study, I'm excited to get back into gear with moving the 1 Corinthians translation forward again.

Your part in this kind of training and discipleship through both your prayers and regular monthly financial support is very much appreciated! Thank you! You're helping to mature the church in Mibu! Keep on praying for these leaders here! If you haven't yet taken the chance to be a part of the Mibu Ministry through regular monthly giving you can follow this link to learn about several easy ways to start. http://www.ntm.org/give/1089

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Mibu - Truly Unique

What's so special about Mibu Ministry? Just what is it about all that God's doing in Mibu that makes it one of those special opportunities that makes people want to be a part of it?

Mibu is one of those places where because of their extreme isolation, was historically speaking very much overlooked. It's one of those places in the world (indeed there are still a fair number of them out there) that is so removed from the typical infrastructure we're used to that living and ministering the gospel there seems an insurmountable task. Add to that the fact that the culture and language is so radically different that the idea of learning it is daunting at best. Coming from a culture that is only growing in our instantaneous expectation of so much that we do, the thought of relocating and spending the next 20 something years of our lives (because that's how long it takes to plant a truly indigenous church here) is well... very difficult to fathom. It's for these reasons and more that the likes of Mibu are often so easily overlooked.

So it's a really great thing that God has kept a wide open door for us to be involved in his work here over the years! He's moved and orchestrated things in people's lives so that the light of his message has been able to do more than just flicker on... it's exploded! Even for those of us on the ground here, it can be easy to take for granted just what a unique opportunity for ministry God has given us! But this isn't about the Husa family and what they do in Mibu. It's about what God is doing in this far off place, and how he uses his people to do it! How awesome is it that we see a body believers here now, on the path to maturity... here, on the other side of the world, in the middle of the jungle... one of those places in the world that seems least reachable! God has indeed reached in and is doing awesome things! Lives are changing! The gospel is spreading! His Holy Spirit is clearly at work here! And you're a part of it! This is exciting stuff! For all of us in the church, what God is doing in Mibu is an absolute thrill and cause of great joy!

So first off, a HUGE thanks to all who have been praying with us and giving your valuable resources to help us live and serve here! Your help has been absolutely essential in things coming to this point, which is somewhere roughly halfway in the whole scheme of things! 

Second, we wanted to let you know of our needs as we continue to serve here to be a part of God's intention to mature this church to the point where we're no longer needed. Right now we're about $1600 a month short of what is recommended for most effective ministry. If you've not yet taken the opportunity to partner with us in this ministry with your finances, would you please prayerfully consider whether Mibu Ministry might be something you'd want to give toward? Maybe you'd consider helping out with $20 a month? Or perhaps $50 or $100 a month would work for you? How much is completely up to you.

Your monthly gift will help with our living and ministry expenses here in Mibu so we can serve the church most effectively. We appreciate your consideration.

If you click on this link, http://www.ntm.org/give/1089 it will take you to a page where you can see the different easy ways to give each month. Your contribution is tax deductible.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wrapping up evangelism lessons in Mibu!



What does the church in Mibu do when they finish teaching the gospel message and see a new generation of believers ushered into the kingdom? Why they celebrate, of course! The church here is stoked beyond words after wrapping up nearly 5 months of evangelistic lessons. So they express their gratitude and joy by dancing and singing praise songs to God... ALL NIGHT LONG! Rain... no problem. Mud... no problem. The excitement here about what God has done and continues to do is as genuine as it gets! You can feel the energy and excitement as people tell stories about how many new young folks gave clear testimonies of their faith in Jesus' work on the cross!

The best we recon there were 88 people attending the teaching. 18 of those folks had heard the teaching before. Some of those are believers but wanted to hear the teaching again because they love it. A few others had not believed the first time years ago, and wanted to hear it again. All of them appear to have put their trust in Jesus, including some of those who had gone against the gospel over the years! 70 of the people attending the lessons were the ones who were a bit young when the gospel message was first presented here in Mibu years ago. As teens and young adults now all of them are clearly proclaiming their faith in Jesus! WOW!

It's no wonder the Mibu church figured a celebration is in order!

After those months of hard work teaching lessons, the teachers too were publicly honored for all their sacrifice. They were given gifts such as chickens, peanuts, spears, and other stuff to show the community's appreciation!

And as for you, we wanted to thank you and let you know how important your prayers have been all this time. It's very encouraging to know that we can join in the efforts together through prayer! Thank you!

(in the pictures: - One of the teachers is given gifts of appreciation by the church. - One of the new believers is explaining his new faith to a few of the teachers)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Fundraiser Success!

We are feeling the love all the way over here on the other side of the planet in Mibu! It's hard to be exact, but roughly 60 adults were counted at the fundraiser concert on Saturday! We've been told that the music, weather, and settings were all perfect, and that folks really enjoyed the whole thing. We really wish we could have been there to enjoy it with you! And are you ready... the funds raised are counted in at over $2700 so far! Apparently some funds are still trickling in so we don't have a final number yet, but what has been raised so far was totally unexpected! WOW! Thank you so very much everyone who participated, for the love and financial sacrifice you make to help us serve here in Mibu!

And a super special thanks to the Brush Arbor Revival band who contributed their wonderful talent! We heard you guys were awesome!! What a blessing!!

Bluegrass rocks :)