Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Quick Addendum to Recent Update

Despite the really cool news I reported in our last update about the gang saying they are done and actually wanting to hear the gospel, there's a bit more complication I thought would be good to add and ask for your prayers…


There's also a third party in all this mix, some leader types out on the coast who have been pushing for 'peace' negotiations with the gang for quite some time. This particular brand of peace talks lets the gang off the hook for everything they've done, and even places blame on the Mibu church, and their involvement in communicating with the police, for how intense things got with the gang and how long it dragged out. They want the Mibu people to apologize for calling the police in to help when the gang was ransacking and killing and all the rest.


There is a 'peace' meeting on Aug 5th that we'd ask you to be in prayer for. There's an incredible amount of injustice being pushed by leaders in that meeting. Please pray for the Mibu church as they will have a contingent there, along with the police, to represent their side. Please pray that while they strive to maintain peace they can do so without having to cave to pressure to allow the gang to save face as is so typical in PNG culture.


This is an additional dynamic that will have a role in how things play out and I thought it was important to let you all know so you can be praying with us!


Thank you!




Monday, April 24, 2023

Latest With Ministry and Family!

Hello everyone! We're enjoying this near perfect weather here in Phoenix lately, with warm afternoons and cool mornings and evenings! We're bracing for the crazy heat just around the corner! We've been busy with kids' school, ministry, Shannon working outside of the home, and still trying to get ahead of some medical stuff we're trying to take care of. The kids are in their final stretch of the year (Ethan 4th grade, Abby 7th grade, Maddie 9th grade, Skyler 11th grade).


I am still slowly pushing through development of Revelation lessons and the last bits of the Elder Training lesson corrections. Moombi is helping me, as he can, to go through the elder training lessons to make sure they're communicating clearly before we format for printing.


Please be in prayer for the community in Mibu who are now trying to put their lives back together after the devastation caused by the attacks of the gang, and the influx of people who were displaced from their homes. My main translation helper, and others who help me understandably find it difficult to give the time needed to work with me on lessons and translation so that can slow things down a bit. For now I mostly work on things I can do on my own.


Speaking of the gang… We have an amazing update! The church leaders in Mibu sent word to the gang recently, highlighting all the devastation that they have caused with stealing, murder, abductions, rapes, destruction and burning of property and gardens, etc. But they rounded up their message to the gang with the notion that with all they took, they neglected to take the very best thing, which is the gospel of Jesus Christ who died to pay completely for their sins and make them right with God and give them hope. We were all shocked to hear that the gang leader responded saying that they were done with the attacks, and that he issued word to the rest of the gang that if anyone else continued to cause trouble he'd kill them himself! What a complete turn around! He went on to say that the gang no longer has a grievance with Mibu and even acknowledged that they, the gang, were the ones who did wrong, not Mibu. Then even more shocking; he said that they want the gospel message to be brought to them! Taking this at face value, we're praising God for this amazing turn of heart. But it's also with some hesitation as we have a bit of skepticism about their intent. Also, our idea of justice is offended as we're looking at the probability that there may be little to no consequences for all the horrible things they've done over the last couple years. But the big picture sense of things has us thankful that there seems to be a change of heart and desire to hear about Jesus. We've all seen the power of the gospel in Mibu and beyond, and so the expectation is that it can have its effect here too!


Ministry stuff is slowing down a bit again as I need to prioritize some nagging medical stuff. I tried everything but surgery last year to resolve some issues with debilitating elbow pain that's been getting worse for a number of years. The last thing on the table is surgery. We're so thankful God stepped in and graciously provided the needed funds specifically for us to be able to move forward with these two surgeries and also another one on my knee for a nagging meniscus issue. So three surgeries this year along with a number of other medical things we're trying to get taken care of. Shannon's hip has been bothering her for some time too. It turns out that living and hiking in the jungle, and also lots of hours at a computer comes with physical issues! Pray that we can get these resolved and resume normal living again. Right now both of us struggle to get the exercise we need and that's getting us down a bit. Glad to have the first of my three surgeries scheduled for this Tuesday, the 25th on my right elbow! If you think of it would you please pray that this would resolve the issue, and for a good recovery.


Along with the medical stuff we're trying to schedule through the rest of the year, I'm also looking for the right opportunity in between surgeries, and after some level of rehabilitation, to return to Papua New Guinea so I can have the opportunity to visit and be an encouragement to the church in Mibu (and they to me), and just generally be of service anywhere needed. I had hoped that I'd be able to make it out the middle of this month, but my work visa has not been processed fast enough. The helicopter is also booked solid through the end of the school year anyway, so it would have been a challenge getting back into Mibu. So for now I'm looking like maybe sometime this summer. We're also trying to plan a short two week trip to Michigan this summer as well to visit with Shannon's parents and some friends and church up there, as well as our co-workers, the Walkers.


Skyler and Maddie both went on their short term mission trips over Spring break! Skyler to Kenya, and Maddie to Mexico. Both really appreciated the opportunity to go and serve kids in a different cultural setting! Thank you so much for those who so generously contributed to their mission trips!


Abby wants to go on an international field trip to Greece with her school next year. We told her we didn't have the nearly $4,000 needed, but if she would commit to working for it we could sign her up. She's been doing odd jobs to get there, but what she's really settled on and has been doing very well with is baking these fantastic cupcakes and selling them! She's managed to cover the monthly payments since January and is funded well into June at this point! She even supplied cupcakes for a wedding recently! Her little business is aptly named "Blissful Bites"! It's exciting to see her take the initiative with this, and her little entrepreneurial spirit kicking in to accomplish her goal!


And we're realizing we've not mentioned we have an addition to the family. Meet Rex! He's a rescue dog whose previous owners abandoned him when they vacated a friend's rental property. Rex is a super sweet, well behaved, and energetic addition to the family. We all love having him around!


Saturday, March 4, 2023

Latest Mibu Ministry Update

Hello everyone! We're thrilled to be continuing with ministry efforts to the church in Mibu! Lately I've been getting some momentum with the lessons for the book of Revelation. Honestly it's so difficult to figure out how to keep lessons at an overview level, without getting caught up in the weeds; all those little details that are so fascinating and raise so many questions. I've got a rough outline (several actually… haha) and will be hammering that out more as I go I'm sure. It'll be just as much of a challenge actually teaching the lessons as well since I'll likely need to do that virtually like all my work.


I'm also slowly working through the corrections for the Elder Training Lessons that I drafted up last year. My friend, Moombi (also an elder in the Mibu church) is helping me through those as he has time. So it'll be something we just pick through slowly as the year goes on.


I'm super grateful for the gracious gift of a supporting church recently which will allow me to travel back to PNG, and hopefully Mibu, for 2-3 weeks in the coming months. I'd like to go mid-late April if possible, but my work visa is only recently processed, and the whole thing will need to be completed before I can buy tickets. So for now I sit and wait and watch ticket prices. If needed I may bump it a month or so. A trip back to PNG will give me a chance to reconnect face to face with our coworkers-in-Christ in Mibu as well as our other coworkers, the Walkers. It will also be my opportunity to sort through and sell or give away the remainder of our belongings from all those years living in PNG.


There hasn't been much news of the gang in the last few months. Mostly just communities sorting through the aftermath. The government, true to form, did nothing. Even the allocation of funding by the government which was promised toward relief expenses was not paid out, and so that's left us overall about $30,000 that we need to raise to fill the void. Overall though there's not been much activity from the gang. This makes us nervous because it likely will appear to not be a problem anymore, and not hold the attention of the government who we'd hoped would take some strong action to put a stop to it and exact justice. We still hope and pray. But our concern now is that after the communities work so hard to rebuild their lives, the gang is still there, and could just as easily pick up their activities where they left off. So regarding the gang, please keep praying. I think maybe we can shift, or add to our prayers the need for wisdom and grace for the various communities to get things back to normal.


In family news, the kids continue to work through school. Skyler (junior) and Maddie (freshman) are doing well at Valley Christian High School. Abby (7th) and Ethan (4th) are doing good at Center for Educational Excellence! Skyler started a job a while back working just 2 hours a day after school for an after school care program. That's helped her begin paying us back for her car for which we loaned her the money. Maddie just applied for a job at In-N-Out down the street. We're waiting to see what happens with that!


Back to education… To any and all of our AZ friends; if you pay AZ taxes, would you consider utilizing the wonderful ACSTO program here to help fund our older daughters' school at Valley Christian High School? It's a great program that allows you to contribute at a NET ZERO cost to you! You can apply this to your 2022 taxes all the way up to tax filing date this year, so there's still time! And did I say it costs you nothing? Here's a link if you'd like to help. Please reach out if you have any questions! https://pages.acsto.org/sxwe2k/


Oh, I forgot to mention too that Skyler and Maddie are both scheduled to head out (less than a week away now) on short term mission trips of their own! Skyler is heading to Kenya, and Maddie is heading to Mexico where they are going to serve mostly underprivileged children in local communities in conjunction with ministries already on the ground there. We're excited to see them serve in this way. Maddie is completely funded now, and Skyler has just $162 more to go to be at 100% funded. We're so thankful for those who have generously given to help them on their way! This will be a great opportunity for them not only to serve others and be a bit of the light of Jesus, but also an opportunity for them to discern God's direction in their own lives. I'll drop a couple links here if you're interested in reading a bit more about what they're doing. And if you feel so inclined, Skyler just needs a bit more to be 100% funded. Gifts are tax deductible.

Skyler - https://vcs.managedmissions.com/MyTrip/skylerhusa

Maddie - https://vcs.managedmissions.com/MyTrip/maddiehusa1


And then Abigail is signed up to do an educational trip to Greece next year with her school. We took this one on hesitantly, but decided together with her that if she could work to pay for the trip she could go. She has to find a way to make $288/mo for 14 months to completely pay for the trip. So far she's 2 months in and has shown a real entrepreneurial spirit as she works hard to make this money! She started by washing and waxing our cars, and is still doing that on a limited basis. She's even put a carwash sign out on the street and pulled in a number of drivers by who loved the idea! But now she has perhaps found her entrepreneurial calling as she is making these FANTASTIC cupcakes and selling them! Not only are they beautifully created, but they taste so so delicious! If anyone here locally is interested, they're $20/doz. She makes $10 profit per dozen toward her trip!



Friday, January 6, 2023

Thriving in the Midst of Turmoil

This last year has been one of great heartache and angst for all of us as we've followed all that's been going on in Mibu with the Hetwara Terrorist Group. The incredible pain we're watching our friends go through, the seeming helplessness, the frustration as we try to get help from the government… it's all been overwhelming for us watching and helping and praying from afar, but much more so, as you can imagine, for our friends on the ground in Mibu.

However, it's encouraging to know that despite the ongoing threats to their safety, the refugee situation with so many displaced from their villages and relocated to Mibu, and the resulting shortages of food and other basic supplies, as well as increased illness, THE CHURCH IN MIBU IS STILL LIVING OUT THEIR IDENTITY AS GOD'S PEOPLE, THE CHURCH, A PILLAR AND BUTTRESS OF TRUTH IN THIS WORLD!! Many of the refugees in Mibu are from areas that have been asking for the gospel to be brought to them for years. The church in Mibu, always eager to share the good news that they've so passionately embraced, have been teaching the gospel to these refugees over the last few months. Just recently we got word that out of about 40 people they've been teaching, about 28 have come to faith, with a number of others still contemplating the radical message they've just heard! How amazing that the message of God's love supersedes even these circumstances and gives hope to those who have none!

I'll put a link to some pictures and video we compiled here.

This last year was a very busy year for us, with Shannon taking a part time job, Geoff helping in any way he can for the situation in Mibu, consulting with church leaders, and also continuing to develop lessons. We're seeing good momentum with the lessons again! We're getting closer to being done with the book of 40-something lessons prepared for the training of elders in Mibu. This year we should also make some great progress too on the lessons for the book of Revelation, which was the latest thing translated. Geoff also put a lot of energy into looking for great deals with real estate. That business is moving too, though more slowly than we'd like. We have funding partners ready to bring all the capital needed to buy the real estate when the deal is right, but getting the right deals to buy is the tough part! Clearly it's going to be some time to really start to see the difference real estate can make in our monthly income.

The kids continue to do well in school. Skyler is a junior and Maddie is a freshman at Valley Christian High School. We're so thankful for the ACSTO tax credit program which allows folks in AZ to contribute to their school at ZERO cost to them. Both girls' school is nearly paid for this year! We do need a bit more for Madelyn to finish the year. If you're in AZ and would like to know how you can help at NO COST to you, please let us know so we can get that info to you! Actually here's a link… https://pages.acsto.org/sxwe2k/

Abby and Ethan are at Center for Educational Excellence in Tempe and both are doing well there, though they can often feel out of place being at a non-Christian school.

Coming up soon, in the Spring, the older 2 girls are planning on doing a short term missions trips with their school.. Skyler  to Kenya and Maddie to Mexico! They're both really looking forward to the opportunity to go to another culture and language outside of what they know and serve some of the needs in each place. Maddie's trip is completely funded, but Skyler still needs to raise about $1700 before mid-February. If you'd be interested in helping her on her way here's a link to help you read and understand more about her trip and consider a tax deductible donation… https://vcs.managedmissions.com/MyTrip/skylerhusa

And then we hesitantly signed Abby up for an educational trip with her school to Greece in 2024. Hesitant only because of the cost, and the fact that it's not really something to do fundraising for. We ended up deciding with Abby that we were going to try to see if she can work to earn the money for the trip. We have until Feb 1 to decide if that's going to actually work or not. We've got a few jobs lined up, but we're not actually sure she's going to be able to make the needed $288/mo for the next 14 months to pay off the trip. So we're looking for ideas appropriate for a 12 year old to work in the next year or so! Yes, we're feeling a bit crazy for trying this, but excited to see our kids wanting to spread their wings.

For us as a family 2022 marked a year of getting established back into a different kind of life, at a different pace, and really a different everything after moving back from PNG. The Lord continues to be so so good in providing for us each step of the way. These kinds of transitions don't happen quickly or easily, as we're learning first hand. And to be honest, it comes with a bit of crisis of identity for us.

We're looking forward to continuing to serve and grow this year and for many after! Thank you to all who are praying for the church in Mibu, for the situation there and for the resilience of the church. And thank you for your prayers for us as a family and your financial support of the Mibu Ministry!



Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Hetwara Terrorist Group - Some Context

I know with all that's been going on with the gang, it's a lot of information. There can be a lot of confusion when it comes to information being dispersed piecemeal over a longer period of time. My co-worker, Chris, wrote up this account of how things with the Hetwara Terrorrist Group have progressed to where they're at right now. If you want to grab a cup of coffee and sit to read this, it may be informative. Or if you want to skim and just look for the points where things are hazy for you, that's cool too. We just wanted to put this out there for our friends and supporters so you have the opportunity to know better what's been going on and how you can keep praying for our friends and brothers and sisters in Mibu.




Background – Birth of Mibu Church

New Tribes Mission has been working among the Mibu people since March 2002.  Originally two families comprised the church planting team which was then grown to 3 families in 2004.  On average it took about 3.5 years for each of the missionaries to gain fluency in the Ma language that is predominately spoken by the people in Mibu.  (Mibu language spans 5 villages some in the lower Nankina valley and others in the Pandepoowai valley, with a total population of around 450 souls.)  After much anticipation, the Gospel began to be preached in Mibu in October 2005 in the Ma heart language of the Mibu people.  Utilizing drama and countless culturally relevant illustrations the missionaries taught through the Bible Chronologically starting in Genesis and continuing through the rest of the Old Testament repeating major themes (God is creator owner, God is perfect, Man is sinful and in need of a savior, God continually shows He has a plan for mankind, Man cannot save himself, without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness) continually teaching the Bible as one continuous story.  In January 2006 Jesus, the promised deliverer as foretold throughout the Old Testament was finally introduced to the Mibu people.  By April of 2006 Christ's death of the Cross was explained and the people were shocked at the display of love this Jesus had gone through to save them, and elated when they each realized they had a personal decision to accept this offer of salvation and thus be forgiven, reconciled and adopted into Christ's family.  Over 90% of the village of Mibu and many others from villages expressed a clear testimony of their sinfulness and complete dependance on Christ's sacrifice for their sins on the Cross.  


Background – Church growth and Opposition

Many outreaches from Mibu church started in cooperation with the missionary team to see this same Gospel messages taught in other villages.  The first outreach in 2006 began in Tariknan in the lower Nankina Valley.  A few people from Tariknan themselves had been saved in Mibu earlier that year and along with some Mibu believers they, with the missionaries, began retelling the same Gospel story again starting from Genesis resulting in another church being born.  Later in 2007 two more outreaches took place in Dagave & Yongem with similar results.  From 2008-2015 the church now without the direct aid of Missionaries saw a tremendous opening for the Gospel among the Mina people, a language of about 800 people to the north of Mibu with successful church plants in Langgane, Titirapok, Bamat & Kookwik.  In 2010 a Jerung speaking believer Ato from the Nankina valley was moved to go to the village of his birth, Dayik village, and see if there was interest in the Gospel. There was some limited interest but a large number of his relatives became enraged commanding him to stop teaching and the proceeded to run him out of the village.  As he was leaving his relatives decided it wasn't enough to send him away, but to send a strong message they decided to kill him.  He narrowly escaped with his life with axes and arrows barely missing him. Later in 2015, a small church was established in the village of Titirapok -- now a church was established in each of the 5 Mibu villages.  With tremendous change coming into the lives of each village where the Gospel began to take root, this led to a steady increase in requests from other villages in the region asking the Mibu church to bring the Gospel to their village.  One of those villages that began asking for the Gospel is Sukgek which is about 30 minutes hike from Dayik.  Another believer Roy who was born in Sukgek but raised in Mibu and was bilingual in both Ma and Jerung languages decided to answer the repeated requests and bring the Gospel to the village of his birth. (Roy being compulsive didn't put together a teaching team but decided he could run the show all on his own.)  A number of folks who remembered Ato's attempt in Dayik village decided to attend Roy's teaching-- both gospel curious and opposition representatives alike.  The teaching went well for the first couple of months but increasingly the opposition began to get louder. Roy too had challenging issues in his marriage which ultimately led him to abandon the teaching before even getting into the New Testament.   This led to a split among the folks in Sukgek village resulting in several families eventually moving to Mibu so they could hear the rest of the story and most of these would themselves become believers.  By 2017 with Mina churches were now pursuing an exciting open door into the Ngaing language to their north, and the Mibu church felt that they too were ready to follow-up on another invitation to share the Gospel. However, because of the split in Sukgek village they felt it was likely a closed door, and that they could really only reach those who were open and thus were coming to Mibu voluntarily.  Instead they decided to pursue another exciting open door, this time directly to the East in Gwarawon village.  Gwarawon village, at about 1,200 souls, is the largest village in the entire Nankina valley.  The pastor of the Four Square Church in Gwarawon, Moses, has just attended another outreach that was being conducted by the Mibu church in Tok Pisin and had gotten saved through the hearing of the Gospel (yes a pastor getting saved).   From that point on, he and his family increasingly begged for the Mibu church to send teachers and begin an outreach.  By 2018 around 100 people in Gwarawon became believers and thus the twelfth outreach from the Mibu church was successful.  The much more established Lutheran church of Gwarawon however was not as welcoming especially seeing some of their members, even church leaders becoming saved during the outreach in their village.  This resulted in physical attacks against Moses including literally an attempted public crucifixion.  Nevertheless, invitations asking for the Mibu church to bring the Gospel to yet further and further villages continue to arrive either by letter or by delegation.


A Terrorist Movement is Born – HWTG (Head Water Terrorist Group)

The head of the Lutheran Church for the Nankina valley is notably the village of Sevan a couple hours hike East of Gwarawon.  Notoriously though the village has also been plagued by crime, particularly murders much over land and sorcery accusations etc.  In 2019, seeking to make a name for themselves, a group of brothers from the village of Dayik and some of their friends traveled to Sevan and proceed to murder two of the most notorious bad dudes in the village of Sevan over the usual land & sorcery accusation premises.  Starting around that same year this same family then attacked their own village of Dayik practicing what would become a well-used strategy of intimidation, fear, demands for money, pigs and young girls to be forced into marriage with the premise of some kind of injustice needing to be set right and therefore justifying increasingly brutal and vicious acts.  By 2020 the entire the village center of Dayik would be completely wiped out including the Lutheran church; the only remaining houses would be in outlying hamlets belonging people who began calling themselves the Hetwara gang.  Family and community members who weren't willing to join the group increasingly fled the area, some resettling in Sukgek, Mibu and many other areas hoping to restart their lives.  One particular family, Gumuni, was one such family who relocated to Mibu.  Gumuni had several children and the HWTG demanded Gumuni give his eldest his daughter to be forced into marriage with a Gang Member or to be sold off into an arranged marriage to another group so the HWTG could "share" in the bride price.  Gumuni refused, arguing that his daughter was enrolled in school and that it would be too distracting to her studies to be burdened with a marriage at this point in time.  The HWTG one day in 2020 had had enough of Gumuni's excuses and they decided to take the girl by force.  The family began to flee into the mountains, as the HWTG gained ground, Gumuni's 5-year-old son decided to put up a fight upon seeing his older sister was about to be captured.   He was no match and was summarily hacked up and thrown down into a ravine where he died, his self-sacrifice however did result in the rest of the family escaping.  They would eventually find a new home in Mibu and despite all the pain and trauma they readily saw their need for a savior through the Gospel witness of the Mibus and became believers.  


HWTG Subjugates Nankina Valley

In late November 2021 HWTG decides to move their operations into overdrive: first with a major attack on the decentralized village of Yopbo in the center of the Nankina valley.  The attack is coordinated with young boys, adult men and even wives and young girls all playing a role.  First a wave of young boys come into the village and begin harassing villagers, destroying crops, threatening animals and threatening to burn homes unprovoked.  When the villagers begin to drive the young boys off in come red-bandana clad men enraged at the "ill treatment of our young boys."  Immediately, much of the far-flung village of Yobo begin flight.  Elderly and those who don't leave begin to receive demands for money, for animals, their homes and very lives are threatened if payment is refused.  As these demands are being given young boys from the gang begin to pursue villagers who have fled, particularly targeting young girls at the direction of the men of the gang.  Some gang members stay in the village while others begin to follow the young boys who have picked up on the trail of the fleeing girls with the express intent on raping and forcing them into marriage.  This continues for a couple of days.  With the premise of land disputes and sorcery accusations given as justifications for their actions, the HWTG begins to exact payment from house after house.  Shockingly once payment is made HWTG women are turned loose to loot the houses of those who complied in giving payment and then burn those very same houses.  By the time the left Yopbo village, 13 houses (over half the village) would be burned and many young girls of marriageable age would be kidnapped.  In the midst of the attack, HWTG recruited dozens of young boys and men from Yopbo village to join the gang with the promise of getting rich quickly. A few survivors of the attack eventually made it to safety out of the area including a few seeking medical attention in Mibu.  Threats from HWTG quickly spread to many other villages including Gwarawon, Miok, Mibu, Tariknan, Dagave, Taip, Mambit, Tupibo and many more.  Flush with cash, pigs, girls, small solar power lighting systems, clothing, pots and pans and other valuable household items HWTG quickly brought the spoils back to their homes in Dayik and planned for their next attack.  About a week later with additionally recruited members HWTG conducted simultaneous attacks in Tariknan and Gwarawon.  Tariknan was completely over run.  Gwarawon being such a large community required a different strategy.  Earlier in the year HWTG had kidnapped a young girl from a family in Gwarawon and forced her into marriage.  Sometime shortly afterwards, representatives of the  HWTG broughy an insultingly small bride price to pay the father for the girl.  The father reacted with hostility saying the price was too small and that he would not tolerate such disrespectful behavior, concluding the encounter by showing part of his machete blade to them.   So then before the attack representatives of the HWTG went to village leadership explaining the beef that they wanted to settle with the father and his family.  Leadership saw the limited scope of the issue and proceeded to put word out to the entire community not to get involved in the upcoming conflict since it was just a family-to-family affair.  So with nearly the entire village looking on HWTG proceeded to attack every family member related of the girl they had abducted, demanding payment and then looting and burning down houses after concessions were made just to make clear the extent of their cruelty (as a down payment of fear to further coerce compliance later).  In all, 16 houses in Gwarawon were burned down, many injuries and again raping and kidnapping. A week later much of the same atrocities were carried out in Mibu.  This time however the premise was that Mibu was harboring Gumuni and his family who didn't give HWTG his eldest daughter.  With a group now numbering close to 100 people HWTG attacked Mibu at 2:00AM and completely surprised everyone in their houses.  Three girls including Gumuni's daughter were raped and kidnapped.  House after house HWTG made demands for payment, however miraculously the entire time the HWTG was in control of Mibu it was raining and so they were unable to burn down a single house.  After Mibu, HWTG would go on to completely desolate the village of Mambit burning every single house.  Systematically HWTG would target every significant village in the Nankina valley and several villages like Tariknan would be targeted repeatedly until every villager had either resettled elsewhere or joined HWTG.


Police Response

Community and missionary agency requests for police aid began in earnest after the attack in Yopbo village but was always answered with, "We are so ready to go in and respond, find us the funding and we'll take care of this problem."  After the attack in Mibu however NTM as a mission agreed we needed to help jump-start PNG Government response.  Police from Lae and Madang were mobilized into Mibu.  A helicopter from Mt. Hagen was contracted to support police operations with the promise of additional government funding to see a full police operation through to completion.  Police however never got additional funding so after a touch down in for a couple hours in Tariknan and a return to Mibu, mission sponsored contract funding was completed.  A HWTG man of around 20 years old was sent by the group to go and mix with the police to see what their plans were.  He was actually identified as one of the rapists while he was chatting with a couple police officers.  After a brief interrogation he confessed to the crime and was summarily executed (Papua New Guinea law in 2021 states that aggravated rape carries the death penalty, this law was changed one month later by act of parliament to 30 years in prison instead).  Two days later the cache of food and supplies the police had been eaten up and funding was quickly found to pay for one more day of helicopter operation, only this time it was simply to evacuate them out of the area and back to Lae and Madang.  Hoping to wrap things up before Papua New Guinea elections in June, at the end of April 2022 police would be sent in again, again to spend a significant time in Mibu waiting for additional operational funding.  A month later as their food supplies are about to run out, 10 of the 16 police officers in Mibu decide to proceed with law enforcement actions against the HWTG without helicopter support but instead on foot heading directly for Dayik village.  This would end in the unfortunate injury of the lead officer and humiliation of the entire squad.   Hiking in the area is treacherous even for local folks let alone urban dwelling police officers.  During the hike the lead officer took a fall  and ended up with a tree limb puncturing his knee, a severe injury.  His team bring him to a house close to Sukgek village and send word that they need an evacuation for the injured officer.  It ends up they are in the home of a family in support of HWTG and the next day the heli arrives to evac the injured office and one of his colleagues.  The rest of the group is so beat up from the trail that they stay in the house for several days trying to recuperate.  One of those nights the HWTG attacks around midnight.   The HWTG surrounded the house and began making lots of noise to provoke the police inside.  The Mibu guys accompanying the police work frantically to get the police to wake but they are just too tired to recognize the situation and insist on sleeping.  Eventually one of the officers awakens and manages to get the others up too, from there they exit the house and begin opening fire.  Humiliatingly, the HWTG had anticipated police firearms might be present and had lashed a number of flashlights to sticks pointed at the house.  The police target the flashlights while gang members shoot arrows from other directions towards the house.  With very little ammo left some shots start heading to actual gang members causing the entire group to retreat with a mixture of fear and exhilaration at "wining the fight against the police!"    The police the next morning collect a few items left behind by the HWTG including several red headbands but other than that had nothing to show for the unfortunate adventure.  Later Mibu would get word that the house the police stayed in would be burned and the owner attacked for hosting the police.  Before leaving Mibu at the end of May the police did deputize villagers from many villages in the Nankina valley as well as Mibu naming them "resistance groups" and encouraging them to go after the HWTG since the police themselves are much more limited in mobility etc.  Police even armed a number of the resistance groups with various guns and ammo giving them the commission to kill terrorist members if and whenever they had opportunity.


Gwarawon falls

As August 2022 is coming to a close, representatives from HWTG arrived in Gwarawon indicating that because the fighting was causing mounting casualties on both sides it was time for the HWTG themselves to surrender and begin negotiating a peace to end the conflict.  Gwarawon, given its large population actually was home to two resistance groups which makes this next part of the story difficult to bear.  With many months of conflict, a desire for peace on the part of the Gwarawon villagers was sincere and gave way to widespread optimism over the upcoming surrender and peace negotiations.  What would occur however was the very opposite of surrender and peace.  Instead, as Gwarawon villagers were preparing peace decorations the HWTG attacked with a group some say over 200 people including 60 adult men and many others being women and children making up the looting force (many of these women themselves being kidnapped and now under threat are forced to loot the homes of new victims).  Some would put up a fight, some are killed. But ultimately it's clear the village is lost and all who can flee for their lives.  Soon what starts as a trickle ends up being a flood of refugees running from Gwarawon and surrounding communities, many end up spending weeks, some months, hiding and starving in the jungle trying to evade capture and death.  Sadly, multiple reports of elderly starving to death quickly make their way to Mibu as well. In all-- just over 4,000 souls have been identified as being displaced by the HWTG.  Eventually over 1,000 of these souls would hike over twelve hours to seek refuge in Mibu village. 


God Sends an Earthquake

With starvation starting to have a tangible impact on the entire area, discussions begin among NTM, SIL & MAF as to how to assist with the growing humanitarian crisis if possible in any way.  Due to security concerns, flying into Mibu with fixed-wing aircraft had been considered a high-risk no-go with preference to utilizing helicopter instead.  Mission Helicopter availability is however undergoing unprecedented scarcity due to a number of factors.  For example, NTMA could over the next 3 months only spare 2 flights and given the size of aircraft only provide fairly small material help anyway.  MAF then reviewed the situation and decided that with a number of increased security precautions (no women pilots, walkie-talkie teams standing by on all the approaches to the airstrip etc) fixed wing flights could be resumed by the end of September.  Shortly after this however, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake with the epicenter not too far from Mibu rocks Papua New Guinea.  Counter-intuitively this devastating event that caused several injuries in Mibu and deaths in many other places throughout the country had the effect of immediately opening the airstrip in Mibu to send a flood of supplies in.  With malaria for the first time ever being transmitted locally the entire population was dealing with significant health crisis compounded by many other diseases now being spread communicably as people are packed into fewer and fewer homes.  (The earthquake exacerbated this by causing a number of homes to no longer be habitable).  With so many refugees now living in Mibu, roughly 220 kgs of rice can easily be consumed a day along with continued need for batteries for flashlights for security teams and medicine as well, the needs are overwhelming for us missionaries to fathom-- to say nothing of the difficulties the Mibu people themselves are facing hosting these many guests.  Nevertheless, with the vigilant and armed security teams keeping watch over the community 24 hours a day aided with walkie-talkies and coffee as well, the refugees have felt a degree of safety and the vast majority of them have expressed excitement over being in Mibu and having opportunity to hear God's Word taught to them every day in Tok Pisin.  Again, this is being taught chronologically starting in Genesis which started October 31st and continues 5 days a week for 3 solid hours.  


A Setback That Sounded Like a Gunshot

Tuesday November 15, another big day of flying in medical, food and security supplies to Mibu.  Leading up to this day Jack Linguan, the owner of a trade store on the coast North of Mibu in Saidor had been on many occasions of material help with food and clothing to the Mibu people and other refugees.  As a thank you to him for his selflessness (all the more remarkable because he's not a believer) he was invited to fly into Mibu for just a short turnaround trip giving the Mibus an opportunity to say thanks and present him with some gifts (lael of flowers, a bow with a set of arrows)  while at the same time also flying in additional rice from his store up to Mibu from Saidor etc.  Upon second landing however a groove in the airstrip became too deep and caused a bolt on the landing gear to snap thus closing the airstrip for fixed-wing aircraft.  Already in the two weeks since this incident the humanitarian food supplies have been used up, malaria is again on the rise without any medication to tamp it back down, battery supplies for security teams are running low and despite all of these discouraging metrics one thing is on the rise: the refugees. And the Mibus have not wavered in their desire to see God's word continue to be taught.  The Mibus do not have food and medicine for themselves or the refugees, all they have is God's Word and He is sustaining them!  Daily now many have been out on the airstrip working to repair it with the hope that this too will be a way to bring in relief supplies yet again.  These are serious times, overwhelming to say the least.  How will God make His name famous yet again we do not know, but we know expectantly who He is and that He is able!



Thank you all for your continued prayers and support!

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Latest Ministry News

Hello everyone! It's been a little too long since our last update! For starters we want to thank you for your continued prayers and regular monthly support as we serve the church in Mibu! We are so grateful for each and every one of you! And thank you for keeping the Mibu church and the surrounding communities in your prayers too! We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and are gearing up for the upcoming celebration of the birth of our Lord, Jesus! 

The big news out of Mibu has been and continues to be this terrorizing gang in the area. It's hard to write updates about it, mostly because it seems like it's just more of the same. It always seems like something might be moving forward, but then it isn't. It's now been nearly a year since the first direct attack in Mibu. The short of it is that the brutal attacks all around Mibu continue. The refugee situation continues. Almost daily we get more stories of villages that have been abandoned and where now the jungle is starting to take back over. Many who have fled have come to Mibu where the community there is doing their best to serve and provide for peoples' needs. But the difficulty is the lack of food and housing. Each house has more people than they ought to, and people are rationing basic food supplies just to survive! The gang continues to breathe threats against our friends in Mibu. So far the Lord has not allowed the gang to come attack again, which we're thanking him for!

Here is a short video where the Hetwara Terrorist Group recorded themselves reenacting how they have been coming in to attack various villages. They're clearly very proud of their 'accomplishments' which includes the murder, rape, burning, stealing and destruction of so many livelihoods.

We keep hearing talk about government this and government that, police, or military… and every now and then it seems like maybe something is finally coming together, but alas very little of it has. So the folks in Mibu are understandably frustrated and scared as the gang continues to threaten to attack again in Mibu. One very sad and frustrating factor is that there is a contingent of leaders out on the coast who are not affected by the gang, but who are making the argument that the gang should be left alone and not pursued for punishment, and even given jobs, so that they stop attacking people. Unfortunately the government in PNG seems to be listening to this and so the attacks just continue and the only people who can do anything about it seem like they may not.

My co-worker, Chris, has been slaving over purchasing supplies and creating opportunities to send the occasional relief flight. While everything possible has been done to keep the expenses as low as possible our Mibu Team account now has about $6,000 in debt. Some of that was taken on with the understanding (and the known risk) of the government reimbursing us, which they've not. This may limit our ability to continue to send basic provisions, and so we are looking for specific help toward these expenses if you are in a place where you could consider giving. Based on how things are going, and how certain factors are coming into place (and in some cases NOT coming into place) we're estimating costs for a short term period of basic relief help to be upwards of $150,000. Info below if you're interested!

While much of this news has us feeling maybe upset and not so encouraged, I want to point out something happening in the midst of all this turmoil and pain that IS a huge encouragement. Many of the refugees who have relocated to Mibu for a time, are those from areas that have been asking for the gospel to be brought to them. In the Lord's excellent sovereignty, he has brought them to the gospel! The church in Mibu has been teaching through the gospel lessons with these folks while they're there. Right now there's about 40-something people who are about half way through the lessons! While we see and feel the evil at work to press and destroy, we see God's light shining in Mibu, both in the mercy and grace shown by the Mibu people who are sacrificing so much to serve those who have fled, but also now in the teaching and hearing of his Good News for them!

In addition to any work around this issue with the gang, and regular communications with the church, I continue to work from here to finish the elder training lessons for Mibu. Right now it sits at about 46 lessons meant to be taught over a one year period. I've drafted quite a few already, which I am now starting to send through for my Mibu co-workers to read, check through, and correct before sending back to me. The book is shaping up to be over 200 pages when done. I'm hoping it will be a great standard by which the leaders and elders in Mibu can train future elders! It's much of the same material I used when training them, but now put in lesson form in a book.

Shannon and I have also been slowly working through some long-standing health issues this last year, and even more so the last several months as we try to maximize our insurance before it resets after the new year. Probably the most pointed issues are that Shannon has a pain in her hip which limits her mobility a fair bit, and I've had an issue with both my elbows which has continued to get worse over the last 2 years. It too is limiting my mobility, enough so that it demands immediate and full attention. Turns out that working at a computer as much as I do comes with health issues. We're praying and hoping for some answers and healing.

And finally, I'm starting to give some thought to planning a short trip back to PNG for myself in the next 4-6 months! We're hoping by then there will be a clear open door for me to get into and back out of PNG and that our finances will be in a place where we can make that happen.

We are grateful to the Lord for his many provisions as we continue ministry to the church in Mibu. If you would like to contribute toward our ongoing ministry you can send a check to Ethnos360, 312 West First St, Sanford, FL 32771-1231 with a note designating funds for Geoff and Shannon Husa, or you can give online here https://ethnos360.org/missionaries/geoffrey-and-shannon-husa


And if you have been wondering about how we might help with the crisis in Mibu from such a distance, there is an opportunity to help with your finances. If you'd like to send a gift specifically for relief efforts in the Mibu please send a check to Ethnos360, 312 West First St, Sanford, FL 32771-1231 with a note designating funds for "Mibu Ministry - PNG#463127" in the memo line. Or you can call the office at 866-547-2460 if you'd like to give using a credit card or other means.


Note: I'm going to be sending out soon, a summary of events written by my co-worker, Chris. These lay out in a big picture format all that's been going on in Mibu.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

God Hears Our Prayers for Mibu!

Hello everyone, my sincerest apologies for the delay in updating you on the situation in Mibu! My computer has been in and out of the 'shop' for a month now, and I've been barely scraping by with all things communication! They've had to replace the battery on my laptop TWICE, and the logic board TWICE! I'm still having some minor issues with it. Hoping I can live with it for the next couple years till we can get a new one again.


The situation in Mibu continues to be tense. This is such a strain on the church and the surrounding communities. Literally EVERYTHING is shut down. Schools aren't running, local medical clinics are shut down, people aren't doing local markets, people's gardens are being neglected, businesses destroyed… not to mention the trauma those who have been attacked and who are constantly being threatened are going through. We're so thankful despite all that, to hear of the hope that still remains among the believers in Mibu! But we also long for justice to be done and for relative peace to be restored. Let's keep praying!


Here's the thing, brothers and sisters. We may feel so helpless from where we're at. It's easy to take for granted the power of our prayers from so far away. But here's the thing. The gang has been specifically threatening Mibu and certain individuals in Mibu as well as some of the infrastructure there… They've been making those threats for quite a while now. I know many many people have been praying and continue to do so. And just looking at it, it seems like God's answer to prayer has been to keep the gang at bay (at least from the Mibu community directly) for now. I don't claim to know what God's exact intentions are here, what his plans are, or any specifics like that. But I do know that God has people in Mibu and the surrounding areas. And I know he loves and cares for them and has shown them immense mercy and grace in the provision of his Son, Jesus; giving them (and us) a hope beyond any they may have in this world. And I know that the non-culmination of the gangs imminent threats for months is also mercy, and that's been what so many are praying for! Let's continue to boldly bring our requests to God, knowing that he wants us to participate in his work in such ways. Let's thank him for his mercy so far, and keep asking for protection and strength, and to show himself in even more amazing ways! Let's all continue to LABOR in prayer for the church in Mibu!


Geoff and Shannon Husa