Thursday, November 12, 2015

General Update

We just got back into Mibu after having spent a bit more than a month out in town. It's great to be back, and we're looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. We're especially looking forward to getting back into a routine as a family. We moved 4 different times while out!

Our reasons for being out were (1) to attend our regional conference where we get to see many of our other co-workers and be encouraged with some biblical teaching and fellowship together. And (2) to have our consultant check the Mibu translation of Ephesians and 1 Corinthians translation. And (3) to get a much needed 2 week break, one week of which we spent in the Goroka area, in the highlands, and one week of which we spent down on the coast, in Madang.

As for the translation check, we're excited to report that Ephesians and 1 Corinthians have been checked out by a consultant now and are just a few minor tweaks away from being ready to print. Just a few days' work really… well that and then formatting for printing and making into a booklet, of course. Such great scripture for the church to have in their  hands! Their translation wasn't without it's difficulties either so it feels good to be done at this point!

During our break, we were able to do some fun things together as a family, like shop in town, taking the kids out on 'daddy' dates, swimming, eating out, and going out sailing and swimming on the boat, Shan Skailyn out in Madang.

Returning to Mibu, as we approached the landing pad in the helicopter here in Mibu, we were blown away by how much the airstrip has been transformed in just the month and a half that we were out! Chris says that people have been up working just about every day for the last couple months! Wow! The Mibu people THEMSELVES have set a goal to have it finished by June or July of 2016! And at the rate it's been going, it looks like they'll be able to do it. This is the most sustained effort we've ever seen on the airstrip! Is it possible that we soon may not need to use the helicopter to get in and out of Mibu?! It's hard to imagine anything else!

You may remember we've been asking for prayer for rain here in Papua New Guinea. There has been a very long drought which has led to many problems and difficulties for the people of Papua New Guinea and also us. We are so thankful to see that God has been blessing us with rain just about every day the last couple weeks! The ground is wet, things are getting green again, and people's gardens can be planted now! Thank you Lord!

Another thing, a couple actually, that we're super thankful for is that in the last month, our core team, back in Arizona has put on two fundraising activities to help raise funds for us to purchase new computers and equipment soon. We last bought computers back in 2009, and while they've served us well, it's time for an upgrade! The first fundraiser was a backyard concert, put on by the bluegrass gospel band, Brush Arbor Revival. This concert raised over $3600!! Then just weeks after, there was a fundraising garage sale which raised over $2400. This is definitely enough to take care of our computer needs for the next 5 years or so! Special thanks and recognition to all those who planned these events, and did all that hard work! Wow! Feeling the love over here, guys!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Outreach, and Important Dates

Excitement here in Mibu and over in the Mina language churches has been ramping up as logistics have gelled for a new outreach to the last remaining village in the Mina speaking area! Over the last year, the people in Birong have been asking for the gospel message to be brought to them. It's taken a while to get some things in order, such as the all the evangelism lessons printed in a new format, a new set of literacy materials printed, and the funds to pay for said printed materials. But now, with those details worked out the date is set for God's word to go to Birong for the first time! If you would, we'd appreciate your prayers, begining now for the team that is going to do the teaching, and also for God to prepare the hearts of those in Birong to be ready to hear and believe his message of redemption. The date is set for the teaching to start on November 30th.

While you're at it, please continue to pray for additional workers who can allocate to the neighboring Jerung language group (green on the attached diagram). Formerly opposed, even violently, to the gospel message, the last couple years have seen a complete turn around due to the testimony that the church in Mibu has been! Most of the villages are now asking for the gospel message to come to them! All that's missing is the needed skills and manpower to translate the bible into their language, develop a literacy program, and teach them the gospel.

The upcoming outreach to Birong is not the only date to mark on your calendars. You'll want to keep the following dates in mind as well.

October 15 - Many many hours of hard translation work is going to be put through the final check starting on this date. Our translation consultant, Jason Stuart, along with 4 Mibu people and myself will be checking through the books of Ephesians and 1 Corinthians. This is the final check before these epistles can be officially printed as scripture! Please pray for all the preparations leading up to the check, and for the check itself, as well as the final corrections and modifications needed as a result of the check.

October 24 - The bluegrass gospel band, Brush Arbor Revival is putting on a fundraiser concert on the evening of October 24! Please plan to come for an evening of fun and fellowship to help raise funds for ministry expenses as we serve here in Mibu! This year's funds will be going toward the replacement of equipment we use for ministry in Mibu. Kids are absolutely welcome! If you were able to make it to the last one, you know it's not something to be missed! If you can, make plans to come.
November 6-7 - There will be a Mibu Ministry fundraiser garage sale on the weekend of November 6. If you have functional, working stuff that you think could be sold at a garage sale and you want it to go to a good cause, please put it aside and plan to donate it to the sale. The hosts of the garage sale (Gary and Kris Husa) can start taking donated items 2 weeks prior to the sale. We'll send out a reminder with more details and contact information.

Thank you so much for all of you who support us in the Mibu Ministry through your prayers and finances each month! It's so wonderful to know we're all in this together!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Recent Baptisms in Mibu

For all our friends who may not be following us yet on facebook, here's some exciting news and photos about the recent baptisms in Mibu!

This last Friday morning twenty-nine people wanted to publicly identify themselves as trusting in the work of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection by being baptized. A large group of us hiked down to the Banjik river to see the event!


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Latest With Mibu Ministry

This last month has kept us all pretty busy here in Mibu. It's amazing how much work there is still to do here. I think this year though is going to get us back up to speed after the last 5 years or so operating at the limited capacity of just our family. We're so thankful for all of you who are supporting us financially each month and holding us up in prayer so that we can continue to serve the church and help them continue to mature and to stand more and more on their own. We're seeing amazing growth all the time, along with expected set backs too of course. So here's an update on some recent things that are going on in the Mibu Ministry.

Continued improvement with literacy skills
We are praising God to see improvement in the reading skills of many here in Mibu. We notice it most pointedly on Sunday when we hear the teachers reading from scripture. Some people who have really struggled in the past are showing huge signs of improvement. It's awesome to see momentum in this area in which we've not seen momentum for a good number of years! You can continue to pray for those who are working so hard! We're praising God for the huge investment in time that Chris and his family have been able to give toward making strong literates seem more like a reality in Mibu!

Working together with Mina
As you may recall, the Mibu church has had a number of outreaches into the neighboring language, called Mina, over the years. We've had a real shortage of manpower the last 5 years or so which has put great limits on our ability to facilitate continued partnership between the Mibu and Mina churches, and the further growth of the Mina churches. With the Walkers return this year we're back to a point where we've been able to divert more of our needed attention over there. We're really excited to see the partnership between the churches strengthening, as well as new strategies to keep things developing. I was blessed to be a part of a recent meeting where one of the leaders in the Mina area was ministered to by the other leaders. After years of too much responsibility being on this one man's plate, it was refreshing (both for him and for us) to see the other leaders step up and with hearts that yearn for the good of the church and the good of this man, spread the responsibilities among themselves. This allows him to focus and to flourish where he is most gifted. It also diversifies the leadership pool, adding more stability to the church. Everything about the meetings we've been having with the Mina area believers has been just awesome! So encouraging for everyone! Everyone here is determined to see God's glory shine in their lives and their families and their communities!

Speaking of God's glory shining… People are noticing! The Mibu church continues to receive reports from the neighboring Jerung language group who note that they see a change in Mibu and they want the gospel message to come to them too! Recently they put together a list of over 500 people who are in support of the gospel coming to their community!

Pornography… Yep, even here at the ends of the earth
You'd think that with as wild and remote a place as we live in Mibu, that a scourge such as pornography would not be a great concern for the church here. We live in the Finisterre Mountains, an appropriate name for these rugged and remote mountains as they feel like the 'ends of the earth.' The Mibus might live at the ends of the earth, but that didn't stop something like pornography from making it's way out here recently. One of the unbelieving members of the Mibu community brought a smartphone from his recent trip to Madang and was showing many of the men some of the pictures he'd managed to store on it. We found out about it and took some time to warn our brothers and sisters of the sticky dangers of even dabbling with that kind of stuff. It's been a while since I've preached in the church here in Mibu. It went very well, and we feel we were able to help bring some understanding about the issue as well as help our friends see the need to run from such things and continue to live in the free and holy life that Jesus has brought them into. Thankfully the owner of the phone allowed Chris to format it completely. We were so pleased too, to see a number of the leaders really stand up to defend the community from the dangers of those kinds of choices.

I continue to work hard at putting the finishing touches on 1 Corinthians. We've scheduled a check for mid-October where we'll need to travel all the way to Wewak to check both Ephesians and 1 Corinthians with a consultant. You can pray that the logistics for all this will work out as they get pretty complicated, and also for the preparations for the check to continue to go well, and then finally for the check to go well so we can officially say these two letters are officially translated scripture.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Latest With Mibu Ministry

We wanted to start by saying a huge thanks to all of you who are a part of the Mibu Ministry through your time in prayer and your regular monthly finances. We're certainly not here in Mibu on our own, but as an extension of the Body of Christ. You're all a huge part of the awesome ministry that is happening in Mibu! Thank you! Here's a little news to keep you updated on the latest in Mibu.

I just wrapped up the last of my exegesis and initial draft of 1 Corinthians! Yay! At this point, I need to work with my translation helper to finish translating chapters 15 and 16. Once that's done we'll need to do more checks on the whole thing to see how well it's understood, make some more corrections, then translate it BACK to English, check again for accuracy, make more corrections, and then it will be ready to be checked by a consultant! Not long now! Beyond that, I'm hoping we can finish translating 1 Thessalonians before our scheduled home assignment about this time next year.

Recent Literacy Graduates
We're thrilled to see the literacy program back up and running, and with more gusto than ever! With the Walkers back, Chris has been able to invest a lot into the slowly dying literacy program to implement some much needed changes, especially to the 'post' literacy program. This takes people beyond having just graduated from a literacy class and continues to train for speed and accuracy of reading, as well as maintaining a conscious hold on what they are reading! The first round of graduates just emerged from this newly revised program and people are excited! Without strong readers, there can be no strong leaders! None that lead with any biblical conviction, at least.

Revising Strategies for Mina Outreach Area
It's been a real struggle to keep teaching materials and translation flowing into the Mina area churches since the Mibu church reached out to them with the gospel years ago. There are huge challenges as we not only do translation and lesson development here in Mibu, but also carry it forward across language boundaries into Mina. We met recently with some of the Mina area leadership to strategize about how to keep them fed and to keep accountability and communication levels where they need to be. It was a very positive time of meeting and talking together. We're so thrilled to be able to be a part of this here!

Ministry Opportunity in Jerung
As you may remember, the neighboring Jerung language has been asking the Mibu church to bring the gospel message to them too. We're still working on finding a team that can live and serve there in partnership with the Mibu church over there. Currently there are a couple families interested. Please be in prayer, that as they pursue this further God's leading would be clear to them. If you're interested in seeing it, here's a video taken with a gopro camera on the front of our helicopter as we fly through the Jerung language area and then on to where we live in the Mibu language.

Home Assignment on the Horizon
Can you believe it's already been 3 years since we were back in the U.S.? With our year-long Home Assignment coming up quick, next year, we're starting to think about the many needs, such as plane tickets, housing and vehicles while back in Phoenix, and the replacement of computers and other ministry equipment. We may have a house nailed down, but it's not guaranteed. So if you know of a house that needs some occupants during the 2016-early 2017 timeframe, in the Tempe/Chandler/Mesa area or any vehicles (big enough for a family of 6) that we can use for 1 year give us a shout! 

Support Needs
You probably know that our living and serving here in Mibu is financed entirely through the generosity of people like you who are as excited as we are about the things God is doing in Mibu. Over the last few months, we've slipped further away from what is recommended for effective ministry here. We need to make up for a $1600 a month deficit and want to put the need out to you folks. Would you prayerfully consider whether a financial partnership with us in the Mibu Ministry is something God would have for you? If you're interested, you can either contact us, or follow the link in the 'Vital Partnership' section of the right-hand column of this email to find out how to make one-time or regular tax deductible donations.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Justice: Impossible

You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous   - Deuteronomy 16:19

The last few weeks have been a roller coaster of drama here in Mibu. Much of the ups and downs revolve around the discovery that one of the teachers here, also a husband and father, has raped at least 5 young women, one of them at knifepoint.

It's been such a sad thing to learn of, and the church is greatly hurt by this man's actions. And since putting him out of the church the community has had a hard time deciding what to do with him. This is where the drama… and great overthrowing of justice has happened.

More on that in a minute. But first off, we see circumstances like this as key times of discipleship. Oftentimes, it's these difficult, emotional times of tough decisions that training the eyes to Jesus is most effective, and most needed. This time was no different.

As for the drama, there was some hesitation regarding whether or not to have the police come and arrest the man for what he had done. It would most likely result in 15-20 years in prison for him. In fact, as of January 1 of this year, there is a death penalty put in place for the type of crime he committed. However, since the crimes were committed in 2014 he was facing 15-20 years. The community eventually agreed that he need to go to prison. They were under the impression that they would be able to determine the length of the sentence, after which time was served they would banish him to live in the bush, away from the rest of the Mibu people.

Once the police were summoned, and had arrested him, things went south. Culturally here, loyalty to one's vast family line comes before justice. If this man went to jail, there would likely be payback from his family line, which extends well beyond just the "Mibu" community here. The police officer fed on this and after being sure to strike fear into the community about the conditions of prison and the length of his imprisonment, and also the unlikelihood that he would live to see the light of day, he managed to pocket a 500 Kina bribe to free the offender right there on the spot for the people to deal with in their own way… ie. make him live somewhere in the bush, by himself.

To make matters worse, the community began to blame one of the church leaders for influencing the decision to get the police involved in the first place! Even though the decision to involve the police was a result of community discussion, they turned and thrashed one of the few here who gives himself in selfless service for the good of the community.

We couldn't believe what had happened… They'd bribed to free a rapist and were turning the whole thing on a selfless servant!

Needless to say this was so discouraging to many of us here. Taking this as an obvious need for some further teaching and exhortation Chris and I spent some time saturday morning meeting with those who have been influential in the current circumstances. We had been working with folks through the weeks, but it hadn't been enough. So now, rather than scattered discussions with various leaders in small groupings, it seems a more up front approach is what was needed. We met and talked about the irony and sadness of the situation, and also some passages of scripture to clear up some points about the place of the church and of the government in dealing with crimes like this, since confusion here seemed to be partly behind all that had happened.

The response was what we were hoping, and we're encouraged to see that it seems people were really challenged to think differently about this kind of thing. While the decision and actions taken are irreversible at this point and this rapist is now basically free to hurt again, we hope that folks were convicted of the need to seek and love justice and that we can keep working on this area where their traditional values conflict with a biblical worldview. It's not that their loyalty to family is a bad thing. It's that there are times where you have to temper that value with another, higher value… the need to ensure room for justice . Justice is too often put down, even completely reversed (where the evil is uplifted and the good is made to be the criminal) because of these family loyalties gone too far. But then even more, their willingness to turn it all on one who has only given himself for the good of the community was especially concerning. This is a point we're going to have to work on over time here in Mibu, and we would appreciate your prayers to that end.

As far as the victims this is a good opportunity for the believing community here to consciously provide the support that is needed so that they can heal and move past the wrong that was done to them. Shannon and Angie have been talking with some of the women here to be sure an effort is made to reach out and care for these girls.

At the end of the day we know that while justice may have been overlooked for the moment by sinful men, a time is coming when full justice will be doled out to deal with all sin. We also know that Jesus offers, justly, to cleanse us of our sins by taking their penalty on himself, which he did on the cross. Those of us who trust him are brought into a place of great restoration and hope despite these evils that still abound in our earthly lives. We hope that the genuine living out of this truth can begin to instill a desire for and active seeking of justice as a 'trait' of the body of Christ here in Mibu. Again, please be in prayer for this as the church continues to grow and mature.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Mibu... Recapping the year

We wanted to write and say that we hope you had a great Christmas and are looking forward to the start of a new year!

This last year in Mibu has been one of continued maturing as the church grows in their ability to stand on their own two feet. Here's a brief overview of some of the happenings in Mibu Ministry this last year.


We continue to plug along with the translation of 1 Corinthians. It's a longer, more difficult letter. We're nearing the end now and are more and more excited to be that much closer to having it ready to print for the church to use. We already have some 'teaching drafts' of the text printed in limited numbers and in perishable form (don't want the temporary stuff to last too long) for the teachers to use with their teaching.

Ups and downs with teacher responsibility

This was a year with many ups and downs. Most of the downs revolved around times when a number of servant leaders in the church struggled for whatever reason to carry on responsibilities they'd taken on. Oftentimes this would leave the entire body of believers hanging. For example, on a few occasions the church met on Sunday only to find that the person who'd prepared the teaching was nowhere to be found. This, and things like this, continue to serve as indicators of the still immature state of church leadership yet. Low points are expected. We're thankful to note that these types of low points don't characterize the church, but that continued growth seems more the norm. Yet, from our limited perspective, the low points can be discouraging. I equate the growth we see in the Mibu church to that of the stock market, ups and downs with an overall upward trend. Growth is happening!

Doors opened up for further spread of gospel

Other people groups are seeing a clear change in the Mibu community. As a result a number have put in serious requests to have the gospel message come to them too. Most notably this last year, a nearby group of villages from the Jerung language group have begun talks with the Mibu church to see if there's a way to have the gospel brought to them. The Mibu church is excited about this, but quickly realize that without a translation and literacy program any effort will not go far. They are asking for at least 2 families to partner with them in beginning a church planting ministry in the Jerung language. We've been looking for God's leading and direction in finding these much needed families who can come help.

Clearer vision of church

We are in awe as I think back on how leaders in the church continue to grow in their vision of the church, specifically as Christ's pure bride and as the pillar and buttress of the truth. There is definitely a core group of leaders that seem all the more equipped to lead, direct, and protect the church.

Literacy in Mibu

The literacy program has really struggled the last few years in Mibu. With the start of the Literacy Store, which aims to develop funds for use toward literacy expenses both in Mibu and in outlying areas, we're seeing one major hurdle to the long term ownership of the literacy program overcome. With needed funds out of the way, supplies have been refreshed and the literacy program kick started again. We hope this time with renewed gusto and long term motivation to keep it moving forward. The Literacy Store is not the only thing though. Some revisions have been made to the overall program, including its oversight.

Walkers back in Mibu

We have been thrilled to have our co-workers, the Walkers, back in Mibu to help us serve the church. It will be a huge help to have the much needed extra help with the tasks of church development!

Internet in Mibu

And finally, toward the end of the year, we were able to finally get internet in Mibu! Wow! What a difference it's made in our ability to keep in touch with folks, even being able to make skype calls back to the states! It's also helped us keep our computers and devices updated and in the best working order.

We're looking forward to this new year and all the possibility it holds. We don't know exactly what God's plan is for this year, but we trust him with every second of it each day and pray that we would be able to live in such dependence on him that we'd be his ready tools for use however he wants.

Thank you for being an active part of the Mibu Ministry through your prayers and regular giving! We appreciate your partnership!