Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Our travels so far

They don’t call PNG “the land of the unexpected” for nothing.  We arrived at the airport in Madang around 6am and checked in and waited for about 1 hour before they told us that lightning had hit the runway and cracked it and we wouldn’t be leaving that morning.  They told us to come back at 1pm so we headed back to our NTM center where everyone was confused to see us J  We realized that this setback was going to have us missing our international flight the next day in Australia so Geoff made lots of phone calls to work things out.  Several hours later and a whopping additional $3400 poorer, we had all our connections changed, bringing this one way ticket home to an unheard of grand total of $7900 (our family can usually fly round trip for that much)!  Geoff then called the airline again around 11:30 to see if our flight was going to be finally leaving Madang and they said to come on down around 1pm.  We arrived only to find out it wasn’t going to happen but they assured us that they could get us on a flight in the morning and would put us up at the hotel for the night including meals.  So we accepted that offer and headed to the hotel.  We ate lunch and put the girls down for their naps and enjoyed the air conditioning for about 2 hours, actually dozing off a bit ourselves, when the airline called and said the flight was going to be leaving after all and we needed to get down there right away. They said that they were holding the plane for us! We had already cancelled our hotel in Port Moresby so we asked if we could still just leave in the morning per the second original plan. The lady checked with her boss and said they really wanted us to be on the afternoon flight and that they would pay for our hotel in POM.  So we woke the girls up and raced back to the airport.  This time we actually made it on our flight but we were rerouted to Wewak (another city in PNG) which we didn’t actually know until we were descending.  As we flew over Skyler said “we should call the water God because it’s everywhere!!”  Too cute.  So after a short sit on the plane in Wewak we were finally on our way to POM and then arrived around 7pm.  One of NTM’s government reps met us at the airport with our passports and helped us figure out the hotel situation.  It took almost 1 hour to sort it out but they put us up at a hotel with meals included.  All of the nicer hotels were totally booked so we weren’t sure what to expect.  On arriving at the hotel we were shown to a room about 7 feet x 12 feet with one single bed.  The security guard quickly realized that was not going to work for us and arranged for us to have a larger room (here, the security guards help out with some of the work in the places they protect… so at the hotels they’ll often help with luggage and stuff and at stores they’ll actually help you find things you’re looking for) So anyway they moved us across the hall to a room with a double bed and a single bed which was much bigger.  This hotel was a much bigger step down than what we’re used to… A MUCH bigger step J  We were happy to have a place to sleep though and were able to sleep okay and were off to the airport early in the morning.  We made our flight to Brisbane, Australia without any further delays and the girls were really well behaved on the flight.  Maddie slept almost the entire way and Skyler just loved everything about the plane.  So we are now in Brisbane where we will be until tomorrow morning (Thursday our time) and enjoying comfortable beds and fast food again J  The plan now is that we will arrive in Phoenix around 7pm on Thursday so we hope to see some of you then and the rest of you not long after.  Please pray that the rest of our flights go smoother than the first, for more good behavior from the girls and a safe arrival in Phoenix in 2 days.


Thank you all for your prayers for us!

The Husas

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Historical moment... a milestone!

Today history was made during the believers’ meeting in Mibu!


There is a young believing man here who has repeatedly, over the last couple years, been involved in activities that have needed discipline and admonition of his fellow brothers and sisters. More recently his involvement in these activities has only continued and so it was determined that some heavier disciplinary action needed to be taken. What is the church to do with such a man?


So a couple weeks back, Joey and I met with a few of our leaders in training about this and we asked the question, “What does the scripture say about this kind of issue?” With the church here not having been taught on it in the past, I entered this meeting thinking that it was going to be quite the task to work through some key passages on church discipline in order to help them see the need for and get behind some action regarding this man. We talked about Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthians 5 and a few other key passages. Then on their own, they were able to come up with some other wonderful passages regarding the need for discipline and what a correct response to discipline should be. Without much help from me or Joey these men were able to come up with a plan of discipline based on what the scripture says!


So today, after Joey was done with the lesson, we addressed the whole church about the need to deal with this young man’s ways. With him present, I stood up and merely introduced the subject matter at hand and then quickly turned it over to Sesi and Keteng, the two men who were going to officiate the action. What these two men did was truly beautiful! They explained wonderfully from scripture why this unprecedented thing was happening. Then they proceeded to explain why this young man was the subject of admonition and then give a stern but loving warning to him regarding his ways. Even such a warning as to say that if he persists that the church will have to ex-communicate him as a final step to try to get his attention… right from Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthians 5. Such a stern warning, yet they managed to do all this while also communicating that they genuinely care for his well being and are doing this for his good. It wasn’t done in anger, but in a very loving manner. Afterward a number of people stood up and affirmed that this is for his good and that we all care for him and that this kind of action by the church toward him is good based on what they just heard. Afterward a prayer was said for him and the young man stood up and indicated his agreement with what we just did by shaking our hands and thanking us.


Now time will tell whether or not this disciplinary action by the church got this man’s attention. But for right now, today, what blew us away was that these two men were convinced enough by God’s word to do something that was totally unprecedented in their culture, even going against the grain of some very deeply rooted traditions. What I mean is that here, in situations like this, saving face is usually the name of the game. Not only by the one who needs to save face, but oddly enough, one’s peers often make lots of room for the saving of face. But that didn’t happen today. The action taken was done with the authority of God’s word and was decisive. But while being stern, it was done in a loving and gentle manner. Today the genuine care communicated by his peers was enough to overcome shame… and hopefully lead him to react not by running from it, but by humble repentance.


What excites us about seeing what we saw today, is that as we prepare to someday be absent from the people here, we strive to equip them to take on the responsibility of shepherding the church themselves. One major tenet of being able to shepherd is the ability to discipline with the mind of maintaining the purity of the church. What we saw today was evidence that they are definitely heading down that road of readiness! This one is usually a very difficult one to equip them for because the pull of the traditional way of doing things is SOOOO strong. But they did it today… and not just kind of. I mean they really did it all out. And not because the whiteskin said so, but because God’s word tells us that it is necessary!


So that’s what I mean when I say that history was made in the believers’ meeting today. It was such a great, imitatable example and we have high hopes for the impact it may have on the future of discipline and correction in the church of Mibu!


Praise God! And in the meantime, let’s not forget to keep the young man in our prayers, that his attention was got, and that today’s example was a real eye opener as to just how serious God takes the holiness of his people.