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!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Our time in AZ so far, and a prayer request

Since we arrived back in Arizona it's been a flurry of medical appointments and gathering with friends and family. We're realizing how difficult it is going to be to see everyone we're wanting to see. Eight weeks is not a very long time at all and seems to be flying by! We are at a different church just about every Sunday we're back!

One of our highest priorities has been getting some answers and hopefully a solution for a potentially serious issue with my (Geoff's) ears. We've seen the Lord's undeserved extra mercies through the whole process, from getting me connected with just the right ENT, their office being appreciative of what we do and going the extra mile to accelerate the process with insurance and scheduling, and to finally having an answer after all these years. The culprit behind my years of persistent ear infections and worsening symptoms over the last 6 months is now confirmed to be a cholesteatoma in my right ear. Judging by how extensive it is, the doc says it's been there many years now, perhaps even going back to my childhood. It's been missed by many an ENT over the years because typical visual indicators are lacking. The solution is that I need surgery to remove it. Again, the doc and his office have been so good to me by accelerating the process and making sure to get the procedure approved by insurance and surgery scheduled all in good time to have me healed and checked out again before our Jul 31 return to PNG. Unchecked cholesteatoma will kill you. You just don't hear about it much because for people living in the US it's usually caught and dealt with, and the solution for such a potentially serious affliction is a fairly straightforward outpatient surgery. Again I find myself grateful that despite having been missed all these years due to atypical symptoms, that our mission doctors were discerning enough to call attention to the possibility TWICE in the last 3 years. The first time they raised the flag just before we came home on furlough, where an ENT evaluated and said it was inconclusive, but not likely. This time more recently the docs raised the flag again and I got in touch with another ENT who was able to conclude solidly that there is indeed a cholesteatoma and that it's been there a long time!

Currently my surgery is scheduled for July 8 with my final follow up appointment (where I'll hopefully be given a clean bill of health) just 2 days before we're scheduled to head back! There are some risks that I'd ask you to be in prayer about. Of course there are the obvious risks of general anesthesia, and risk of infection and what not. But the ones that concern me more are the risk of partial or total loss of hearing in that ear. Another one is that the doc will be making a determination during surgery whether or not he'll have to do a more destructive version of the procedure which would leave me with a high probability of an ear that would be intolerant to ANY moisture, including humidity. If he determines to go that route (he's going to try not to) it carries the risk of rendering me unable to live in PNG where humidity is high. That's a risk he's pointed out to me, and so we're trying to do whatever is needed to avoid that. The doc is anticipating a good outcome and ability to return and continue to work in PNG. But the possibility has me wanting to ask you all for your prayers leading up to and during my surgery, and for my recovery afterward. We desire to continue ministering to the Mibu church. There is still much translation and lesson development and working with the leaders to do there. We'd be foolish to think that somehow God 'needs' our family specifically to accomplish his work. But we've also had every indication that he has graciously brought us into his work in Mibu, and we've not sensed his leading us away from that yet. So our hope is to return and continue to serve in PNG. God is good no matter our circumstances. We trust the outcome to him, and would ask that you join us in praying about this.

On a lighter note, we've been enjoying being able to see our family and friends and to catch up with our brothers and sisters in Christ in the various churches in the valley. Since our time is so short, we've scheduled weekly evenings with Shannon's family and evenings with my family. It's been good to be together for this short time! 

We're also reminded as we interact with folks, and have been blessed in so many ways with financial help and other resources (like a house and 2 vehicles) that we totally don't deserve such good treatment from you all! Yet, God shows the abundance of his grace through these many kind and generous acts. Thank you so very much for everyone who partners with us in this ministry, who in any way, helps prop us up, encourage us along, and lift us up before the Father!

We managed to get the whole Husa clan together one more time, even including great grandma!
When the Husas get together things get a little bit weird. If you see him, make sure to ask my dad about his leg!
When you're 93, family shenanigans around the dinner table are easily handled by plugging your ears!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Please read - Answered Prayer!

Great news! God has answered your prayers in a surprising way! If you remember a couple weeks ago we reported about a group of 11 guys that came to Mibu with knives and bows and arrows making serious threats against the community there. Thankfully they did not hurt anyone, but they said they'd be back, demanding that they be paid on their return.

We asked you to pray for this situation among a few others.

Well just a couple days ago we got a report from Sesi who wrote that two of the men returned in the dark of night this last Saturday… and apologized!!! This is completely unexpected. In fact, this situation was deemed desperate enough that everyone agreed it was time to get the police involved. But for some reason, before the police ever got involved, these two men came to apologize on behalf of everyone else who was involved. They brought a cash payment and a whole 'rope' of betelnut to seal the deal (a standard cultural practice to appease someone you've wronged).

Their explanation was that one of the group, a known troublemaker, while from the area in general, is a vagrant who drifts around different places drawing in other potential troublemakers, like a little gang, and causing all kinds of trouble. In this case, he convinced them to attack Mibu, and has since run off himself. Meanwhile, it seems his comrades have come to their senses and realized just how serious their actions were. Serious tribal warfare has been started on less!

We're blown away as it is so counter-cultural for people in these situations to do an about face without some kind of serious external prompting, either through court, the police, or pressure from leaders… if ever! And even more so among those who have yet to know and share the common bond of the saving mercy and grace of Jesus. So it's easy to recognize in this situation that God, the one who knows man's heart, and who grants favor, has answered your prayers in an amazing way! The Mibu people seem a bit shocked too. They indicated the unexpectedness of this outcome given they've not really had a chance to initiate talks or anything like that yet! Thank you for praying.

In addition, we had asked you to pray for some false teaching that was going on in one of the outreach areas. One of the elders and a few other church leaders went over to the area where the false teaching was happening. They met with and asked the ones behind it all to explain themselves. After being shown how their thinking doesn't line up with what God reveals in his word, or with the fact that they've been saved by his grace alone, and being told the church doesn't associate with that kind of teaching, they acknowledged publicly that they were in the wrong and would not continue with the practices they'd been promoting. Please continue to pray for this situation because we want to see it worked out over time here, especially with the people they've already mislead. We're not sure where these guys' hearts are really at, but are thankful for the gracious handling of the situation by the church, and for their initial response to correction.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Please Pray

If you can remember, please pray for several things going on in Mibu at the moment. Our co-workers wrote it well in their latest update, so I'll just copy their words here...

Trouble last November

First of all let me say that this is not an email we have been planning or even looking forward to sending out, but rather on behalf of the Mibu church we feel compelled to send this out as they (and we on their behalf) are asking for prayer in this regard.  While we didn't have a lot of information until very recently, it has now been confirmed by several independent eye witnesses that a group of twenty+ armed men learned that there was missionary plane that had had an accident in the remote village of Mibu.  They devised a plan to hike to Mibu and loot the plane.  As they approached the mountains to the South of Mibuland a large contingent of the group found the hiking to be too strenuous and so they turned back, and only 6 of the individuals continued on from there.  Before their arrival, a crew of missionary aviation mechanics arrived and worked on repairing the plane which took them about 4 days.  (It took many months to secure a new engine and other parts which delayed this repair far longer than anyone was expecting.)  The morning the plane was scheduled to fly out of Mibu a group of men from other villages arrived in Mibu with ample supplies of alcohol.  Early in the morning they began sharing this with some of the young men in Mibu and got severely drunk.  As the plane was getting ready to leave they all went up to Mibu and began to cause quite a stir, even threatening to damage the plane and helicopter.   Many of the drunk men and boys (around a dozen) had to be restrained before the plane and the helicopter were able to take off, which they finally were able to do.  Meanwhile, as the group of armed men hiked towards Mibu, they passed through some neighboring villages in another language group bordering Mibuland.  There they shared their intentions with some eyewitnesses, and showed them some of their guns and hand grenades (no doubt procured on the black market in Lae).  A couple of days after the plane left Mibu they arrived and learned that they had just missed their opportunity.  From there they traveled north towards the coast, several Mibu people saw them as they traveled via side trails rather than take the main trails through the area.  They made their way to Da.  village where they sold a couple guns in order to raise money for their boat ride out of the area.   From there we've then heard a rumor that one of this group in December was killed in a shoot out with police during a failed break-in attempt in Madang...
Outside church building on a typical Sunday.

Trouble near Mibu

Some of you may have seen been following my travelogues of my journeys in and out of Mibu.  During my trip out of Mibu in November there was some postings I made regarding the people in a village outside of Mibuland that were furious over the recent deaths of two prominent people.  They were cutting down trees blocking all the roads leading out of their villages to determine who had worked sorcery that resulted in these deaths... (more on this in a bit)

Trouble Last Week

Last week one of the elders of the church in Mibu sought our help in contacting the police in the area.  Recently a believer in Da.. village (same village as referenced above) was being disciplined by the church there for unrepentant, unfaithfulness to his wife.  Often times when individuals are confronted they react very differently.  This individual decided to act violently.  He began lashing out against others and damaging houses and other property and threatening to hurt others.   We haven't gotten a lot of details of what has happened since then, other than that he hasn't stopped being belligerent but instead continues to cause trouble. 
One of the gardens after the attack

Trouble this Sunday

During church services this last Sunday, 11 men came into Mibu with faces painted black and armed with machetes and bows & arrows.  They forced the believers out of the church and rounded them up away from the building down to the basketball court area of the village.  There they expressed their anger that one of the Mibu men had insulted his wife who was from one of their villages.  They also proceeded to blame the Mibu people for being the ones who had worked sorcery on the two men who had died in one of their villages back in November.  For this they were ready to execute some Mibu people! Additionally they were demanding K5,000.00 and a payment of 5 pigs.  Some community leaders seeking to calm the situation invited the men into one of the houses.  During the discussion when they thought the situation warranted it, they told the men that the insult they heard about wasn't true (both the husband and wife in question agree it was blown both out of context and proportion), and that the accusation of sorcery was also completely untrue, because Mibu--unlike many other places in the area--hasn't been practicing sorcery since the Gospel came and was accepted in 2006.  Still, one of their comments struck a nerve and the group snapped.  In an attempt to kill, they nearly succeeded in injuring two Mibu men who thankfully were able to run to safety.   At this point everyone in the village fled, leaving the assailants free reign.  They then proceeded to attack vanilla & food gardens claiming that they would be back as they left.  Later in a report, Mibu people were able to identify 6 of the 11 assailants, one of whom is a known murderer.  The church has now sent this report to the authorities regarding these six names along other details of the incident. 

Please PRAY!

D We have encouraged the Mibus with the words of Jesus in John 15.  We are promised in scripture that we will have trouble in this life, especially if we choose to live godly lives.  The Mibu church has weathered difficult times before, but it certainly feels like the enemy is ramping things up many more notches.  We imagine there are those in the church who are scared, rattled, and possibly looking for the easy out.  PRAY they will stand firm in what they know to be true.  PRAY that they will not cave to the cultural norms, but instead rely on they power God to show himself strong on their behalf.  PRAY that the police are able to come quickly and help address the matters in a helpful way and restore some order to the area.  PRAY through it all that the Mibu church will be a shining example to their neighboring communities, and that these accusations and troubles that are coming their way don't affect the peace that has come to be associated with them.  Pray for our friends, our brothers and sisters, that they will seek the face of God, and walk humbly in his ways.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Exciting New Mibu Ministry Video

As we head into the closing season of 2018 I’m reflecting on the phenomenal things that happened this last year. This video sums up how these years of language learning, bible translation, teaching, and discipleship came together in a huge ministry milestone; the appointment of the Mibu church’s first elders! Check out our vimeo page for the longer versions (18 min and  46 min) if you’re looking for more of the details.

Thank you all for partnering with us in this ministry! It’s been so encouraging to see the fruit of this ministry over the years!

If you'd like to know how to contribute to the ongoing expenses of Mibu Ministry please check out our Ethnos3
0 page here.