Wednesday, March 25, 2020

How Are the Husas?

You might be wondering how we might be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. I'll summarize first by saying we're fine right now, and that we're definitely affected in many ways, much like you all are back home, yet with some differences. More on that after I write about our recent time as a family in Mibu.

The Mibu Ministry continues despite COVID-19. I happen to have the perfect job to keep going in this situation… sitting in an office, translating God's word into the Mibu language. Prior to the heightened reactions here to the pandemic, we had the wonderful opportunity to go into Mibu as a family! I've been in several times on my own, and once with Skyler. But the rest of the family hasn't been back in since we moved out nearly 2 years ago! The short version of why that is has to do with the extreme costs of getting in and back out. But the Lord graciously provided the means to make it in together this time; something we're so very grateful for!

It was such a joy to be back in the house again that the kids basically all grew up in! Our family dynamics are so different in there and it was nice to step back in to that if even just temporarily. It reminded us of some dynamics we'd like to be sure to hold on to when we got back to our town lives. We had a steady flow of visitors in our house, and we did our share of visiting as well, enjoying catching up, doing meals together, and enjoying the fellowship we share together under the common hope that we have in Jesus! It was such an encouragement to see how the church and it's shepherd-leaders continue to stand firm and grow in their faith!

I had all 10 of my days filled with translation tasks that are harder or impossible to do from town. I almost exclusively focused on checking 1 and 2 Thessalonians and also Revelation (all that's been translated so far) for comprehension. I was able to get one more solid round of this checking done for all of that, and now have some areas to focus on cleaning up a bit based on those checks. It was a good time sitting and going through all that material with a handful of folks who were super encouraged not just to see more of God's talk made clear in their language, but to be following the messages of that talk. For some it's their first exposure to those particular letters. But it's all the more Jesus-focusing for them to hear, strengthening their faith and their walk with the Lord.

While we were in Mibu we continued to follow closely the developments around the COVID-19 pandemic. Watching the events and reactions escalate the way they did in just those short 10 days (and continue to even today) hardly seemed real! The whole thing reminds me that we definitely tend to live in an illusion in which we perceive a great deal more control over our lives than we actually do. We have systems and habits in place that we make up our 'normal', and we take for granted the fragility of all that. This pandemic reminds me of how little control we actually have over many of our circumstances. When that illusion gets stripped away, looking through the initial fog of anxiety, I'm reminded where we really get our peace from… our Creator God who DOES have control, and who does have a purpose, and who calls us his, and who continues to love and care for us through any and all of life's circumstances. He is where our hope is.

So how are we experiencing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic? In many ways it is not too unlike what our many friends and family in the US and in other places around the world are experiencing. The big difference is that we are overseas, and any opportunities to repatriate to the US have dwindled if it ever came down to it for us. Thankfully our family has not felt the need. But we're thankful that a number of our friends and co-workers were able to make it through one of the last remaining windows before it closed. School has ceased and so Shannon prepares to take up homeschooling our kids for the remainder of the school year. As of now there has been only one confirmed case of COVID-19 in PNG, and it was an imported case with no evidence of local transmission. For now we remain commited to making whatever adjustments are needed and continuing with Mibu Ministry as much as possible with restrictions in place. We continue to follow the news and connect with family, and to pray for you all. We would ask that you continue to pray for us here as well!

Thank you so much to everyone who prays and who gives for this ministry to happen! We couldn't be here without you all holding us up!

Geoff Husa

New Tribes Mission - Papua New Guinea
Calling from the US: (480)409-3192
Digicel: 7175-6206

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Please Pray - Opposition Continues

In our last update we were praising the Lord for moving in the heart of someone who was strongly opposed to the gospel in one of the locations where the Mibu church is doing an outreach. I'm still amazed by that. Keep your eyes out… I just recorded one of the church leaders telling the amazing story from his perspective. I need to put subtitles in it and then I'll post it!

What I'm writing about today is the other group I wrote about who was still opposed to the gospel and causing trouble for the church. That opposition continues to grow. If you remember, there was a family in the village of Joso who was opposed when the Mibu church was invited there to bring the gospel message. Their son, Semi, who you see in picture below with the swollen neck and face, became a believer despite their protestations. He chose to stand firm on the work of Jesus on the cross and the hope that is assured through his resurrection rather than the cargo cult beliefs and animism that his family and ancestors mixed in with shallow religious practices. Semi, about a year after becoming a child of God, died from some kind of cancer. His family is blaming those who brought the gospel message to them, saying that their son died because he listened to 'Satan's' talk. Semi's father has been going around blaming not only the church but also Ethnos360 (NTM) for his son's death. Unfortunately there are quite a few people in the surrounding area who are latching on to the things Semi's family has been saying.
The rumors are being spread, and now in one of the other outreach villages, Kookwik, about a day's hike away, where there has been a maturing church for a few years now, some opposition leaders severely beat one of the bible teachers, Banai, and his wife. Thankfully they are both recovering from their injuries, though she may be left with a permanent issue in her hip as a result. The growing opposition is threatening to burn the teachers' homes and belongings with gas. They're actively going around trying to dissuade anyone else from paying attention to the gospel teaching.

The church in Kookwik sent word via one of their teachers, Davison (pictured below), and are asking for help from the church in Mibu and from us. Sesi and I met with Davison, heard some of the difficulties that are being caused over there, and prayed together that God would protect the church there, and that he would do what only he can do, change the heart of man. Meanwhile we're contemplating some possible actions to try to keep the peace and not have the spread of the gospel hindered as the opposition intends to do.

I wish I had recorded the prayer of Sesi today as it was a prayer of deep faith and dependence on God and trust in his Word!

Would you please join us in prayer with us over the coming weeks for this issue; for protection for the believers there who are being persecuted, but also that God would change the minds of those who are so violently opposed to God's word.

Friday, January 31, 2020

From Opposition to Acceptance!

We have an exciting update to the situation we reported on in our last update about the outreach in Sindama! If you recall the teachers had said that many people (mostly led by one individual) were strongly opposed to the gospel message upon coming to the point of realizing that accepting the truth that God alone is the creator of everything would mean leaving behind a longstanding traditional belief that they themselves are deities of a sort. The confrontation grew intense, and the teachers continued to make the trips to keep developing this gospel message to those who still wanted to hear.

Well you prayed, and the Lord worked amazingly as he always does! It was reported to us recently that Kips, the main instigator in all this (along with those following his lead) continued to come to the teaching. Whether his motivation was to be present in order to oppose, or maybe his conscience being pricked by the Holy Spirit compelling him to keep listening, he and the others continued to come to the daily lessons. When the teachers finally got to the point of teaching about Jesus' life, death and resurrection Kips was moved to the point of tears! Somewhere along the way he must have begun to entertain the possibility that we are indeed created by God alone and that we are made to be in a relationship with him. Somewhere in there he must've begun to agree that our sin separates us from God and that God promised to make the necessary moves to bring us back to him. When Jesus' story was presented Kips must have seen all the pieces come together in that one person and to put his trust in him! Kips broke down in tears publicly and announced his faith in Jesus while also saying how sorry he was for opposing them so strongly!

I don't know about you, but WOW! When we meet opposition like this we can know, as the Mibu teachers do, that God is the one who works in peoples' hearts! Kips presented a seeming impossibility, but God moved him!

Originally we could only report somewhat ambiguously that a small handful of people were left looking to Jesus. But most recently it's been reported that at least 62 people in Sindama are new Christians! What a praise and a reminder that we can't take for granted who's heart God will move in!

Okay so zoom out from Sindama, and make your way up the mountain a ways and zoom back in to the village of Joso. If you recall the Mibu church did an outreach there a couple years ago. Joso is experiencing God at work too with a fledgling church continuing to receive teaching and growing in their faith. They too are not immune to opposition. There is one family there who has remained opposed to the teaching. Their young adult son, Semi, is a believer who just recently passed away from mouth or throat cancer. His family is blaming the Mibu church for his death (even though they helped raise money to get him to the hospital and try to get the care he needs), saying that they are the devil and that they caused this illness to befall their son. Usually when someone dies in Mibu friends and family all gather to view the body and mourn before burying it. Semi's family would not let any of the Mibu believers come to mourn before burying him. They literally blocked the roadway to keep them out. With all the other people from other areas coming as well to mourn, and hearing what Semi's family is saying about the church the Mibus are concerned that it will put a damper in other villages' willingness to hear the gospel message. Please be in prayer for this situation as Semi's family is even talking about taking the Mibu believers to court over their son's death! If we learned anything from Sindama, we know that this is not beyond God's control or ability!

Please continue to pray for the ever growing number of believers in the Mibu area; for the testimony of the church, the teachers taking the word to various places, for hardened hearts to be changed. Thank you so very much for your role in the Mibu Ministry as you faithfully pray!

Geoff Husa


New Tribes Mission - Papua New Guinea

Calling from the US: (480)409-3192
Digicel: 7175-6206

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

First Mibu Ministry News of 2020

Greetings from the highlands of Papua New Guinea! We're well overdue for an email to give you all the latest and greatest with the Mibu Ministry.

First we wanted to get you up to date on a recent outreach effort by the church in Mibu, in a place they were invited to called Sindama. I spoke with Sesi recently, and he informed me that a large contingent in Sindama has rejected this message after hearing it. As many of you know, most of the places that have asked the Mibu church to bring the gospel message to them have responded favorably to the message. When I asked Sesi what about the gospel message offended them, he said it very clearly has to do with their cargo cult beliefs where they equate the fact of procreation of a man and woman to to showing that they are deities themselves. Basically they take the thinking that since we procreate we are obviously gods ourselves. There's so much of their belief system that revolves around this view. The people in Mibu recognize it well, because it is close to what they used to believe. Anyway, once being faced with the propositions that there is but one creator God, who made us, and that because of sin we all fall short of his glory and need a savior, they chose to reject that. We're praising the Lord though for the small handful who have responded to the message about Jesus and are putting their faith in him. The challenge for the church in Mibu now will be supporting and continuing to encourage and grow those believers as they continue to live among the many who will likely ridicule and may even persecute them.

As for our ongoing work translating the bible and creating bible lessons, some years are better than others. The last half of 2019 was really slow and frustrating for me personally. It was difficult to stay focused and to get momentum going in the work. I found myself being faced once again with my own weakness and inability (yup, got lots of 'em), and experiencing those in new and different situations from what I'm used to. Translation was sooo slow. It's challenged me again about what it means to look away from myself and to the Lord for what is needed to accomplish what he brought us here to do. It's also challenged me to be content with certain changes in situation which my brain and my heart say are not advantageous to the work. Yet I know that the Lord has allowed us, if not even purposed us to be in this situation. For what reason? I'm afraid I don't know that. I suppose I can let go of needing to know why, and keep getting on with using what the Lord grants me to have to do the work that he has for us, trusting that he will also provide all that is necessary to accomplish it. So here's to gratitude, renewed focus and dependance on the Lord, and success (as God defines it) in this start of 2020!
We're excited that, for the first time as a family since moving out of the bush, we finally have plans to spend some time in Mibu! March 10-19 is when it seems it's going to happen. I say 'seems' because the dates have moved around a bit as we try to settle the logistics. I've been into Mibu a number of times, but the rest of the family has not. It should be a great time to reconnect with friends and leaders there, and of course to accomplish some translation tasks which can only be done in Mibu. We're also hoping and praying that our house is not requiring any major attention which will take time away from more important things.

Speaking of housing. It may seem like a long way off, but we're already starting to think about our planned home assignment which is scheduled to begin summer of 2021. Mostly we're starting to keep our feelers out for housing. In the past, we had a mission house available which made it easy. But times and circumstances change and the mission house no longer exists. We've exhausted other possibilities too, and so are faced with the decision between renting or buying a house. With our kids getting a bit older and the prospect of more frequent, short term stints in the US, we're feeling it's time to get serious about a mortgage. So we're trying to pinch more pennies and save for a down payment. We're also taking the time between now and then to continually ask the Lord for clear direction and provision regarding such a big financial decision.
Most of us think of chilly weather and snow over the Christmas and New Year holidays. Contrary to that, we spent ours on vacation in the hot, equatorial sun of Madang. Our time down there was sweet and refreshing (thanks to the AC in the guesthouse). We spent time out on our little sailing outrigger, Shan Skailyn, and we tried unsuccessfully to fish, and visited various beaches and met different people. Then we topped it off with 3 nights at the Madang Resort. The latter is what we opted as a family to do instead of Christmas gifts to one another this year! It made for a much more low-key celebration of the birth of our Savior! We arrived back in the cool highlands on January 6th, and have hit the ground running ever since, and feeling ready to dig in and continue our labors for the kingdom.
We couldn't be here, and couldn't do this work without your friendship and your prayers and financial support! We appreciate so much all who are led to contribute to us and the ministry in Mibu! Thank you! If you haven't had a chance yet, and are wishing to contribute with your finances, please follow the link.

January 4th marked 16 years since moving to Papua New Guinea to minister to the remote Mibu people! 16 years of God's faithfulness in provision, direction, loving care, and growing his kingdom!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Recent Time in Mibu

A view of Beng Village
Recently I had the opportunity to get back into Mibu for 2-1/2 weeks. The purpose of my visit was primarily translation, but there were many other reasons to go. It was so good to be there and to spend time with my friends, catching up with the goings on in the church and with the leaders and other individuals! It's a huge encouragement and benefit to all parties to be able to spend some time on the ground, checking the pulse of the church, what their needs are, and maybe seeing areas where they need uplifting and/or direction. My time there caused me to praise the God who sustains and cares for his people! I saw that the church as a whole and its leaders continue to stand in their faith and dependance upon Jesus. Like any church, the Mibu church has its struggles too. But it's encouraging to see how God has equipped his people to deal with the various issues that come up with the grace and wisdom that only he can provide!
Marking up scripture translation in areas that need further revision for clarity
While there, Sesi and I worked through Revelation chapters 12 and 13 together. Then after that I worked with a few other folks, doing a thorough check of those and previous chapters for comprehension. This was a chance to see how the text is communicating and to find areas that are problematic. The whole check gives opportunity to diagnose where the issues lie and make revisions that will make it communicate the way it's intended.

In addition to translation, I also kept busy with many other areas of life and church. Here are some bulleted points to give you an idea.
- Trying to encourage and provide direction for a dad who is struggling to teach his two older wayward sons.
- Maintenance on house and office (the jungle has a way of quickly taking over our homes left out there!)
- Talking with leaders about strategies regarding several outreaches they're currently involved in.
- Handling a small medical emergency or two!
- Giving input regarding the resolution of conflict between a couple families in the church (resolution still in progress)
- A teacher in the church who was found to be smoking pot. I was mostly just listening to how the leaders are dealing with it.
- Helping the church deal with the ongoing scourge of pornography that always finds its way even into places as remote as Mibu. (People in PNG carry it around on micro sd cards and share via bluetooth on their phones. As such it's become very widespread.) Thankfully in Mibu it seems to be something that the occassional person brings in, and not necessarily as widespread as it is in the communities around them. However the threat, especially among the young people is very real and requires constant diligence and attention.
- Working on a technical solution giving us more options in the process of translating remotely.

Needless to say, 2-1/2 weeks was not enough to get everything done I had planned. But honestly I always plan way more work than I can actually get done, just to be sure if something goes quicker than planned I've still got plenty to do to keep digging away at this mountain of work!

Unfortunately my family was not able to join me on this one, and so it was difficult to leave them for that length of time. But Shannon was a champ as she managed the house and kids and homework on her own all that time! We know there were people praying for her! We appreciate that more than we can say!

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Huge thank you to all of you who are praying and giving each month! We could not do this work on our own. We're dependent on the Lord's provisions both physically and spiritually. You all are a part of the team as you participate each month through your heartfelt prayers and faithful giving! Thank you! If haven't yet had opportunity to give and are desiring to do so, you can follow this link which will give several options for how to give.
Keteng and son, Joey, make a great team for comprehension checking of the Bible translation
Sesi is a close friend, my primary translation helper, and a wonderful leader

Friday, September 20, 2019

Summer Recap

Greetings to all our friends, family, and supporters! Our apologies, especially to those of you who only see communication from us via email. Somehow, even though we were posting to instagram and facebook, the remainder of the summer whizzed by without us writing another update to our blog/email! So here are the key points to get you up to speed on what's we've been up to since our last update.

If you remember I (Geoff) had surgery on my ear when we were home. Reflecting on the last few months we're so very thankful for how all that worked out, and for continued healing after the surgery! The doc said that I should expect some weirdness for up to 6 months after the surgery. All signs that healing is still happening. While I've definitely had some weirdness as he foretold, there has been nothing concerning. Mostly just some discomfort here and there, but always improving overall. I'm even starting to notice some of my hearing coming back, and also feeling being restored to my scalp and other parts of my ear which have been numb (and still are a bit) up to this point due to nerves being severed during the procedure!

With the thumbs up from the doc, we returned to PNG as planned in early August. Before our short trip to the US, we were in a mad rush to move houses here in PNG. This meant we only had time to pack and move everything over to the new house, but had no time to unpack or organize before heading stateside. This meant that as soon as we returned we had to hit the ground running with unpacking. Since the house is significantly smaller than our previous house, it was a welcome opportunity to downsize, toward which we eventually had a rather large garage sale! All that is done now and we can say we're mostly settled in our new house… for now.

I recently got my office set up and have begun work in lesson prep and translation again. As I was trying to get my head back into the translation task, I realized I've been working in Revelation on and off for just over 2 years now! Ughh! That's so slow! The first year had good reason for the delays as I also was full-bore into elder training and lesson writing and teaching, as well as teaching a group of leaders how to study a text and write lessons. But since we've moved out of the tribe, we've been faced with 2 moves in less than a year. In this second location I'm finding I have to protect my time with increased vigor as our new location requires so much time driving for everything it seems. There are other tasks too, expected of us in this new location. This move has us scratching our heads a bit, wondering how to deal with this new reality of frequent moves and other expectations that cut into the time we'd rather be prioritizing for Mibu. It's still early on, but we're trying to keep an open mind about how we can make this work over the long haul, or maybe other options for being able to ensure I can continue to devote myself full-time to seeing the bible translation and lessons finished in Mibu. 

We're also looking at our schedules and budget to determine when and with what frequency I might be able to get into Mibu to spend time with folks there, work on translation and lesson tasks that can't be done out in town, and to occassionally teach when new lesson material is ready. We thought we might be going as a family during the next school break in a couple weeks, but it was just too last minute to work out the logistics. So back to the drawing board. We may have to wait till March next year before we get another chance to go as a family. That's a bit of a bummer because  the kids have been asking and they have friends there excited to see them again. Meanwhile I'll have to plan some trips in there on my own again.

Thank you to all of you who partner with us in this ministry through prayer and giving and all the other areas of support that are so graciously done to help us in the work here! We couldn't do it without you!

Blessings from the Husas in PNG!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Update on Geoff's surgery

Hey everyone I just wanted to update you on how my surgery went. The surgery took about 3 hours and was a great success according to the surgeon. He told me that basically all the best case scenarios are what he saw when he got in there to remove the cholesteatoma from my right ear. Normally this kind of procedure would be a two-step surgery, and so we were starting to think about plans for just me to come back for another, more minor surgery in 6-12 months. But the doc said that things went so well that he was able to take care of everything in just the one sitting. He's comfortable with waiting until we come back home on our next furlough which is planned for 2021. He also found one of my old tubes which had fallen out behind my eardrum and had been lodged there for God knows how many decades! The doc is confident that with all he was able to do, and with how well the surgery went, that I should notice a huge difference in my ear health! Part of the procedure he did was also using a cartilage graft to rebuild my eardrum. He was telling me this afternoon that he was happy to have also been able to shore things up in such a way as to ensure longevity and good workability of this new eardrum. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that the doc did NOT have to do the more destructive surgery as we were hoping! So that means healing will be quicker and I can continue to live and work in PNG!
The doc literally had to cut my ear off to get access to the good stuff. That's gonna leave a scar!
Post-op, I have a mild amount of pain behind my ear where they opened me up and where he removed part of the mastoid bone. Down the right side of my neck is also fairly sore with movement, so I'm having to be careful how I move around since the neck muscles are involved in everything. But apparently I'm on track for good healing. I'm looking forward to my final appointment on July 29, just two days before we're scheduled to leave, to get the final OK to board that plane and head back to PNG. The doc's expectations at this point are that healing will go well, and that over time I'll notice my hearing is either the same as before, or even just a little bit better!

I know there were so many people praying for this procedure. Thank you all so much! It's such an encouragement that my fellow brothers and sisters were lifting this up before the Lord.

We'll keep you posted as things progress!

And for just a bit of sick humor… those of you who have spent any significant time with me can probably remember at one point or another my joking about how I wish I could just take a drill to this problematic ear. Well, as it turns out, that's basically what was needed after all!