Saturday, December 24, 2011

Welcome Osborns

It all came together kind of last minute, but we've been able to welcome the Osborn family for an extended stay of six weeks here in Mibu. The Osborns (Joseph and Elizabeth, along with Belle (4), Lucy (3), and Everet (1) ) are here staying with us in Mibu for what is called 'bush orientation'. They arrived in Papua New Guinea in August, have been getting acquainted with things here in Papua New Guinea, and have also been working hard to learn the country's trade language, Pidgin English. They arrived here in Mibu last Wednesday, the 14th and are planning on heading back out to town with us on January 25th.

Bush orientation is one of the final steps of preparing a family for ministry in a remote location. The idea is to finalize their study of Pidgin English language and to gain their first longer term exposure to what life is like living in the bush. This also affords them the opportunity rub shoulders with the believers here in Mibu as they spend time in their world. One more step toward preparing the Osborns to begin serving wherever it is that God directs them. So please be in prayer for their time here, that this exposure would give them wisdom and insight and that they'd sense more of God's direction through this experience.

As for us, it's been a blast getting to know Joseph and Elizabeth and the kids. We've been enjoying helping them get settled in and giving them the 'lay of the land' as it were, showing them how life in the bush looks for us.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Update on travel logistics

(Our apologies for the random picture that just showed up in your inbox yesterday. Here is the text that the picture was supposed to accompany. Our email system sometimes tears our emails apart and decides to send just one little part. Ironically enough, the content of the picture is still rather random :)

Over the last few weeks, our busyness seems to have gotten in the way of keeping you updated. There are several things that we'll be trying to catch you up on here over the next several updates. So stay tuned!

For starters we wanted to inform you about where things are at with our plans to return home for Husa baby number four. We're super thankful to see that so far about $8300 of our needs for this trip has been graciously provided! The total needed for travel and medical expenses is estimated around $15,000.

Currently the plan is to be returning home on January 27th, sometime in the afternoon. The baby is due around the end of April. Then we'll give enough time to process paperwork, entry permits, passport, etc and return to Mibu on July 20.

Please continue to pray with us regarding the health of the baby and also for Shannon who typically experiences a great deal of discomfort and pain associated with pregnancy. Please also be in prayer for our housing needs when we're home. If anyone happens to know of a house that needs house sitting during our time home, we're still looking for something that fits our small budget within reasonable proximity to the Tempe/Chandler area.

As the time for travel approaches, we've got much work to finish up here in Mibu as well as packing up our house which will sit unoccupied during the months that we're home. It's hard to believe that the time is so close already! We're really looking forward to seeing you and hopefully having a chance to visit and share about the wonderful things God continues to do in Mibu!

(here's a random, fun picture of Skyler, Maddie, and Abby all enjoying some imaginative play time)

Monday, December 19, 2011


The attached file was originally sent with another message.

File Name: 2011_11_5852_copy.jpeg

Friday, November 18, 2011

Follow up on Bapake

You may remember in the recent report on the outreach areas that Sesi expressed concern about Bapake (see picture) and his family. Bapake is the main teacher in the outreach areas. He works with and trains a number of other teachers between Yongem, Titirapok and Langgane to faithfully teach God's word. He and his family are fully invested in service to God and have even relocated from Yongem to Titirapok in order to carry on their work. While they still spend some time in his home village of Yongem, they mostly live in Titirapok. This has its effects on him and his family. Since they're away from their own land and gardens a lot more, it's changed the dynamics of their survival. Sesi points out that he has no money to get clothes or blankets as well as a number of other necessary items.

Recently Sesi and others here mentioned the need to the church in Mibu asking if people would be willing to help Bapake. The response was overwhelming and unprecedented here! Over a period of several days, people pooled together over 140 Kina (about $60). One person alone gave 50 Kina! It may not seem like much to us, but it's a lot by Mibu standards (equivalent of about 28 days wages). That 140 Kina ought to easily take care of the needs of his family for some time.

Adding more to what was clearly God's Spirit at work here was the joy with which people gave! They really were happy to help Bapake and his family! There was no pressure, no compulsion; just hearing the need and out of concern for Bapake and his family as well as the work that God is doing through them, just feeling good about being able to help!

Again, a sign of growth in the church born out of a real love for God and the joy of being his people.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Follow up on women in outreach areas

If you remember, in a recent report put together by Sesi regarding the church in Titirapok, Yongem and Langgane, he expressed concern about the women there. He's concerned that the women may not be understanding the truth about Jesus. They're not too sure about their trust in his work on the cross.

After hearing this, I encouraged Sesi to consider how big of a deal this is and how easy it might be to let this issue slide. Culturally here, it's very easy for the women to be forgotten, as it were; left kind of in the background.

So the other day we had a meeting about this issue specifically. Bapake (who is the main teacher in these three outreach areas) came to Mibu, along with a few others. We sat down together with several others in the church and brainstormed about how the women in these areas might be encouraged.

I pointed out that I remember when, not that long ago here there were times where the women didn't seem to be getting things quite at the level that the men were, but that now we see that lots of the women have grown tremendously and are strong in their faith. So we asked what may have helped the women here along. The idea being that maybe that help could be reproduced in the outreach areas to help the women there.

Here, we've seen the men interacting more with their families, intentionally leading and teaching. That certainly is having an effect. Here, the women have been involved together in regular prayer and times of discussion as well as review of points in the bible teaching. They've connected in Christ centered fellowship in this way. The women here have also had the care and influence of friendships with Brooke and Shannon over the years, who have focused specifically on encouraging them. All these together have definitely been a tool God has used to encourage the women of Mibu in huge ways in the certainty of God's love and provision for them.

So some ideas that were thrown out there had to do with ways that some of the more mature women here could be involved in the lives of the women in Titirapok, Yongem and Langgane. The major hurdle to overcome is mainly geographical. The women here do already have relationships with the women there. So the idea was presented that some of the Mibu women would pray regularly for one or two of the women there about whom they would choose to be specially concerned. Another idea was to have times here and there where a small delegation of women would go there to spend a few days with their friends and encourage them, having prayer meetings and discussions and review of lesson material. And vice versa, there could be times as the relationships develop further that some of the women from there could come here and spend time with their friends in Mibu. The importance of encouraging the men in the outreach areas that they need to focus on encouraging their wives in gentleness as well as talking together about what they're learning and struggling with was also stressed.

These and a number of other great ideas were talked about and will be pursued. The main idea though is that there be an ongoing godly influence not only in the lives of the men, but also in the lives of the women there. It was so encouraging to see the genuine excitement in the meeting as they sought to find ways to implement venues of godly influence in the lives of the women who are such a big and important part of the church community! Yet another sign of growth here! One thing that is an obvious next step is that they need to spend some time talking with the women of Mibu to get their input; to get their help in developing a realistic plan to implement.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Signs of growth

Sesi (see picture) came up early in the morning recently knocking at my door. He'd just returned from several days with the churches in the areas where the Mibu church has done outreaches. Completely on his own initiative, he'd wanted to go there and spend some time evaluating things so that they could help strategize how to keep things going in a positive direction there. He had taken notes and wanted to share them with me.

I was so encouraged to see that he'd just done this without being prompted. He just thought it was a good idea. He was right! But I was also encouraged to see the wisdom he displayed as he went through his observations with me and pinpointed areas of church growth that are positive and areas that may need a little attention. He had individual reports for the church in all three villages that he spent time in (Titirapok, Yongem, Langgane). Here's the boiled down version.

- For example, he noted that the men, when they're talking together, always seem to be talking about Jesus. How great is that?! Evidence of Jesus becoming more and more a real part of their lives!

- Sesi also pointed out that the men there really enjoy making new songs to sing about Jesus.

- The teaching there seems to be going well. The people talk often about how they want to be like the church as they read about it in Acts!

- Sesi observed how people so joyfully talk about the story of how Jesus has been changing their lives, their joy even accompanied by tears at times.

- The workload for bible teaching seems to be shared well between the teachers from the three villages.

- One of the teachers had to be disciplined and removed from a place of responsibility after being caught in adultery. The fact that the church deals with these discipline issues right away and does not follow the cultural norms of covering things up to save face is a really big deal. So while it's not a positive thing that this guy did, the church's reaction is a positive sign that they recognize the importance of the witness of the church!

- Sesi was concerned that many of the women seem like they might not be tracking along with the men. He noted that as they talk about Jesus, many are uncertain of the once-for-allness of his death and resurrection. Many don't seem too sure what that means for them when they die. (Stay tuned for more development on this one...)

- Sesi was also concerned about Bapake, the main teacher/leader there, who has been faithfully directing things over there for a number of years now. The concern had to do with how Bapake's involvement in the ministry is affecting his family. It's hard for them to maintain a garden when they don't live in their home village anymore. Since they don't have much of a garden, they've not done much in the way of cash crops, keeping them from being able to buy new clothes. Their current clothes are falling apart. His family is also really in need of blankets to stay warm during the cold nights that are so typical here. Thankfully, the people in Titirapok where Bapake and his family live have built him a house and given them cooking utensils. Bapake's wife is starting to feel the strain of being away from home so much. (Stay tuned for more exciting development on this one too...)

All in all, the report shows really positive signs of a growing church. I'm still amazed at how Sesi was moved to do an evaluation like this on his own! Praise God!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Garage Sale!

245 W. LaVieve, Tempe 85284
November 18 & 19
6am - 2pm

Our core team is having a garage sale in a couple weeks to help raise funds for our trip home. Now might be a good time to clean out that storage space and put your unused stuff to a good cause! If you have anything you'd like to donate, please get a hold of Gary or Kris Husa at 480.839.0338.

Please, no clothes.

Lots of exciting stuff happening with the Mibu church right now! Stay tuned!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Baby Logistics

We often find that in making plans for our lives, God shows us that he had a little something different in mind! For us recently we were pleasantly surprised to find out that God is seeing fit to grow our family one more time! We've been anxiously contemplating what the best route to go is for delivering this baby. With the health problems Shannon experiences during pregnancy and during delivery it's just not an option to remain in Papua New Guinea in the time leading up to the big day. The options boil down to traveling either to Australia or to Arizona. And as has been in the past, when comparing costs and other factors, the Arizona option is the best.

Along with the unexpected change of plans, come the expenses that go with those. We estimate that the total expenses for our return home and out of pocket medical expenses will be between $13,000 and $15,000. For obvious reasons, we usually like to plan ahead for this kind of expense. This time however, we find ourselves ill prepared to take care of such a need. Much as God has provided in unexpected ways with the addition of this wonderful new life, we're also praying and waiting for his provision for the logistics of bringing that life into this world.

We have been so blessed to have a wonderful group of brothers and sisters, and friends and family, who take a genuine interest in the exciting things God is doing among the Mibu people here in Papua New Guinea. We sense God's confirming hand not only in the great things he is doing here, but also through people like you who do so much to help make it all happen! As those who have already been so supportive of the Mibu Ministry over the years with your prayers and finances, we would like to humbly ask if you would be a part of helping to meet this upcoming need.

We would like to be able to make plans to return home sometime early this next year, staying 12 weeks beyond the delivery date in late April, to allow time for all the paperwork and entry permits that are needed to return to Mibu and continue serving the needs of the maturing church here.

If you're one of those who have already been so faithfully helping to meet our monthly needs, maybe you would prayerfully consider giving an extra month's worth this year. Or maybe you've not sensed God directing you in the past to provide financially for the ministry in Mibu. Would you prayerfully consider whether this might be a worthwhile time to help with a specific need?

If you would like to send a financial gift, please send a check, payable to "New Tribes Mission" with a note in the memo, designating the funds for "Geoff and Shannon Husa - Baby" to the following address: New Tribes Mission, 1000 E. First St., Sanford, FL 32771. All gifts are tax deductible.

Thank you so much for your consideration. And as usual we're really looking forward to being able to see you in just a few short months here.

Geoff and Shannon and the girls

Monday, October 24, 2011

Living Hope in Mibu

According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice... (1 Peter 1.3-6)

God's words, uttered through Peter were ringing true Saturday morning as I sat in a church meeting down in Mibu. About 35 people were meeting together to pray, talk about church matters, read God's word, and just be encouraged together. The sense of God's spirit at work in their hearts practically had my own heart bursting. These weren't people sitting there, bored, or maybe just there because it's the thing to do or because others were doing it. Eyes flashed with excitement as Sesi began the meeting.

He started the meeting off with a talk-picture. He said to everyone there that if someone came up to any one of them and said that that they were going to build them a house to live in, providing the tools and materials and labor involved, they'd be ecstatic about it. They would be so happy that they'd been relieved of all that goes into that huge task (which incidentally, a family here in Mibu has to do every few years). Sesi continued, saying that that kind of provision is just a physical thing. But what God has done for us is so much bigger, having given us life and a real hope, where we have a place in eternity to be with and see Him. Our excitement as a community should reflect that. We all need to think about this and wait-look (put our hope) toward that time as we finish living out our short physical lives here. That's the thinking that will change the way we live our lives here.

We haven't yet taught on 1 Peter, but Sesi has got it! His words and others like them continue to encourage the church as they move forward, meting out their faith as they strive toward godliness as a community.

Please continue to be in prayer and praise for the amazing things that God is doing and certainly will continue to do among the Mibu people!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again

We're so thankful to be back in Mibu again after 6 weeks in town. We packed up our luggage and moved 6 times during that period. We don't particularly enjoy that kind of lifestyle and so we're loving being back in OUR HOUSE again!

But even better was the glowing report we got about how the church in Mibu did while we were away. Sesi couldn't contain his smile as he reported the following on the day we returned...

- The church meetings and teaching have been going well. However there is a growing concern about the continuing presence of unbelievers at the church meetings. It's not that the church doesn't want to be bothered with the unbelievers. But the church meetings really aren't evangelistic in nature. The teaching that happens at the church meetings is geared primarily for believers who are growing in their faith. This is a good thing that the church is seeing this more clearly on their own. Possible solutions forthcoming.

- There have been a number of folks who are meeting on Saturday afternoons to discuss concerns in the church, work through the teaching material for the church meetings, and pray. These meetings went very well and continue to be well attended by people who are genuinely concerned for the church in Mibu. In addition, Sesi has begun to lead the group through a review of the parenting lessons that were developed a couple years back. This shows the positive influence that the women have had in their weekly meetings as they've persisted in coming together in prayer, discussion, and review of the parenting lessons for some time now.

- No major event happened while we were away. There were, however, several small issues that came up which the church seems to have dealt with well.

- Leaders from the prevalent religious system that surrounds Mibu continue to take issue with the church in Mibu. Recently representatives from Mibu were invited for a discussion of sorts to happen with these leaders in one of the outreach areas (Titirapok). A small delegation left yesterday to go there and have some talks with these religious leaders. Nobody is sure of the exact intent of these talks, but we're praying and hoping that they result in open doors rather than continuing opposition to the spread of the gospel. We would appreciate your prayers as well over the next few days.

- The Mibu and Beng villages have begun to alternate back and forth where they meet for the church meetings each week. They've always held this as ideal, but it has never worked out well for various reasons. We're glad to see that they have begun to alternate back and forth again and seem to be sticking with it! Since people from both villages meet together this helps everyone share the burden of going back and forth instead of just one village or the other. Working together in unity!

It's always an immediate encouragement when we come back from town and see the church encouraged and doing well. We're tremendously blessed to have been given a job serving with such a great group. Their growing maturity warms our spirits. But lest we forget, there is still a great deal of work with translation, developing new lessons for the church, discipleship and even with literacy. While we thank God for what he's done so far, we're still looking to him for all the rest that needs to happen before we can say we're done here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


You don't have to be able to discern the blob in the center to know what this is! No, we didn't go digging an old sonogram out of the archives. This was done just about a week ago! Yes, the Husa family is getting a surprise visit from the stork, come next April! What always amazes us is seeing the little heartbeat of this new little life for the first time!

As we anxiously await the arrival of our fourth child, we'll also need to begin making plans to come home for about four months to have the baby before returning to the field to continue much needed service in Mibu. Sometime around March thru June will be the time that we'll need to be home. There is also the possibility that we may send Shannon home earlier with the kids because of health problems she has with her pregnancies.

As this news comes as a bit of a surprise to us, we're feeling a bit less prepared than we have in the past to handle all the logistics that will be involved. Areas we could use help with include the following...

1) The biggest and most urgent need is the finances to purchase round trip airline tickets (about $10,000).
2) A working vehicle that will seat a family of six, including three car seats (A minivan perhaps).
3) Affordable housing in the Tempe/Chandler/Gilbert area - near our home church, Bethany.
4) Two cell phones we could make use of during our short stay.

Would you please join us in prayer, first as we thank God for a new little Husa on the way, but also as we ask and wait for His provision for the trip home to deliver the baby.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Translation Consultant Workshop

The last couple weeks, we've been in Wewak, way over on the other side of Papua New Guinea, attending a Translation Consultant Workshop.

It's an interesting mix of folks who have come together from all corners of PNG (and even one from the Philippines), expressing a desire to sharpen their skills. It's interesting to think of the various backgrounds from which we all come; a carpenter, a linguist, a saleswoman, a welder, a number who became full time missionaries right out of high school, a cad drafter, an engineer, a restaurant worker by day/band member by night, and four subsistence farmers. Though our backgrounds and skill sets are so varied, all have come together with one commonality being that we love and value the power of God's word, and recognize the importance of seeing it translated clearly and accurately. From where we stand at least, bible translation is the higher calling!

The idea is to check through one of our brave peer's translation of Ephesians, using it as an exercise to hone our skills toward being able to evaluate another translation for accuracy and comprehension. We've spent a great deal of time working through the exegesis (study of what it means) of this letter, and have also been checking it with four mother-tongue speakers of the Dinangat language into which it was translated. We want to make sure not only that the translation is highly accurate, but that it is communicating clearly in a way that reflects the meaning of the original. At the end of the day, we want to know that our Dinangat brothers will understand it precisely how Paul intended it to be understood. As we do that, we hope to receive helpful criticism and understanding that will help us do our jobs better.

We're very nearly finished with the process and have been blessed to see the deep love and concern for God's word that is also obvious in these Dinangat men. It's always exciting to see others who, like the many in Mibu, care enough to sacrifice their time and leave their families for such a long time to come to this unfamiliar place so very far away from home. The prospect of sitting and being questioned by a panel of people they don't know must have been nerve wracking, but they chose to do it anyway. Definitely having overcome that fear and developed new relationships, they've been doing great and have greatly benefited their translation and us who are translating into other languages.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Pervasion of Prominence

One thing that we often take for granted in all our communication is a little something that we call prominence. Prominence literally permeates every little bit of communication, and it simultaneously happens on multiple levels. Prominence is to blame when we understand what the main point of a paragraph is, and who or what is being referred to primarily. It's to blame for some characters being in the background while others are brought to the front of the hearer's mind. It's essential for understanding what information is backgrounded while the exhortation is highlighted. Prominence does so much more and is absolutely essential in any communication.

Did you know that the Koine Greek language has different ways of indicating prominence than English? And English has different ways of indicating prominence than the Mibu language. And the Mibu language has totally different ways of indicating prominence than Greek. And round and round it goes. Each language has its own specific ways of clearly marking prominence. A mother tongue speaker has those 'patterns' of prominence embedded in their brains so they can follow it without even thinking about it. But as soon as we cross those linguistic lines, it's a whole 'nother ball game!

Look at the attached picture. What's so funny about it? What should be the main message is actually backgrounded. And the information that should be backgrounded carries the prominence. It's silly right? But this happens more often than you realize in translation (yes, even in our beloved English translations!).

That's why we as translators need to be aware of this whole issue of prominence. How are things made prominent in the Greek text that we're translating from? How is prominence handled in the language that we're translating into? Only as we get a better understanding of this issue can we translate God's word from one language into another in a way that truly communicates.

One example would be in the story of the prodigal son. In that story, in the Greek, the way the father is introduced sets him as the main character in the story (prominence) right from the very start of the story. The way everyone else is introduced in the story sets them in the background... even the now unduly famous 'prodigal son'. In addition, at the end of the story there is a teeny tiny little marker that has a big big job of developing the author's point. It happens to set the actions of the older brother next as bringing the author's point home (another kind of prominence). He wants his hearers to understand the comparison that's being made between them and the older brother. And, of course, all throughout the story there are these little peaks and valleys of prominence that would have had the original readers keeping their focus and emphasis in the right places, shading some information as background and others as carrying the story forward.

In a translation that sticks to the form of the original, like many of our English translations, these issues of prominence aren't carried through and we end up with a sort of 'flattened' text; often difficult to discern the author's single, God inspired intent. Or even (and this actually happens in the epistles), where backgrounded information takes the front seat and an exhortation gets lost; just like in our picture here.

So back to our example, when we translate this story into the Mibu language, we need to be aware of the ways that the Mibu language uses to show the main character as the main character and the ways that it keeps the other characters in the background. We also need to be aware of the forms the Mibu language uses to drive the point home. In the Mibu language, using these forms correctly will result in a text looks very different than the Greek form, but very intentionally carries the overall meaning much more closely to what the author originally intended.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Information overload!

After the recent church evaluation, our family left Mibu and started a 2 week long course called the Advanced Language Workshop. We're just about finished with it at this point and my brain is feeling overloaded! Don't get me wrong. The information is GREAT! It's just that it's a LOT!

To learn about the deeper levels of how a language works we...

Break texts down into propositions on a chart.
Chart out all the grammatical features of each proposition.
Chart out all the semantic features of the text.
Note the hierarchical organization of the pieces of the text.
Review the chart trying to discover the patterns the language uses to communicate.

That's the chart. The chart is the tool. But then we need the knowledge for how to use it. That's the part that leaves our heads spinning at the end of the day! You see, each language has it's own specific way of doing things like helping the hearer keep track of what or who the speaker/writer is talking about and to keep track of what is important versus what is just background info. Each language handles the breaking up of information into 'chunks' as well as relating all those chunks together in different ways. And to complicate things even further, each speaker/writer has at least a subconscious awareness of shared knowledge and experience with the recipients of their message. All this (and much more than I could possibly write about here) comes together to determine a very specific combination of sounds, words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs, all structured and related to each other in ways that are fully capable of communicating just what the author intended. This is true of every single piece of communication that has ever left the lips of one's mouth or otherwise been penned. In fact, the only time these principles of communication are violated, one quickly concludes that the author suffers schizophrenic!

These principles are true for every language on planet earth (even the dead ones).

Learning these things gives us insight into the nature of human communication (and even how God created us to process information). Awareness of them is hugely beneficial to better understanding of how the language works into which we desire to translate God's precious word. They also help us grow further in our understanding and conviction of just what God intended to be communicated to us in the original language that his word was inspired to be written.

At this point, we've had this crammed into our heads with just a kick off in the application of it. My head hurts!

Why spend all this money (yeah, it costs!) and time to try to learn this stuff better? Is it so we can feel smarter? Is it so we have an excuse to buy more aspirin for our headaches? Is it so that we can get so into it that the thoughts of communication patterns keeps us awake at night because we just can't let it go? Nope. Nope. And nope. We do it because Jesus did it. That's right, by being born an actual human baby and being raised as part of a specific people, culture and language, these things became so much a part of him (in the unique patterns of his mother-tongue) that they all happened in his communication to people without him even having to think about it; just like we do with our own mother-tongue. Jesus communicated to people in the normal everyday language, and he did so by first becoming one of them. In following this model as best we can (and since we can't be 'born' again into Mibu culture) we find other methods by which to learn how to communicate naturally with the people we serve. Understanding these things also helps us on the other side, when we're trying to understand what the biblical authors may have been communicating when they wrote because the translations available to us are largely based on Greek forms. Those Greek language patterns are hard to understand clearly. (Do you ever struggle to understand what was being said when you're reading your bible? There's a reason for that!). So we need to sort through the forms available to us in order to better discern what the authors intended to communicate. It's when we can discern these things accurately that we can then turn that message around and put it in a form that works in the Mibu language. That is why we take the time and expense to attend workshops like this!

We're looking forward to being able to use these tools and this knowledge better so as to better serve the Mibu people!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mibu Church Evaluation

As you may remember we asked you to pray for an upcoming church planting evaluation. The evaluation is done, and we want to share with you some of the excitement we're feeling as a result of that recent evaluation.

Three of the more mature believers from the Itutang tribe came to help with the evaluation as part of their training (red shirts in picture). This is different than how things have typically been done in the past as usually it's just expats doing the evaluation. The Mibu people connect on a whole different level with others of the same nationality. The Mibu people had all their time planned out; time to show them around, times and topics for discussion, who would host them each night, etc. The Itutang men had specific areas they wanted to talk about as well during their visit with their Mibu brothers. Their time together went wonderfully and we look forward to how this new connection with another body of believers will work itself out over the years. We're already imagining visits back and forth and leadership meetings.

Overall the evaluation was very positive. It was really great to get an outsider's perspective (yet, one based on experience in similar situations) on where things are at with the Mibu church. There are so many good things going on in the Mibu church right now. The little bit of teaching that the consultants witnessed was done very well. Translation (though slow) seems to be communicating clearly. The church is encouraged to keep pressing on for the most part. Lots of good stuff.

Yet as is to be expected at this stage in things, there are still a lot of areas of need. For example, while the church has been taught and discipled well up to this point (and they're really getting it!), there is still a big need to continue that process and develop leaders and certain skills that will allow them to stand on their own without so much external input. And while the church has quite a healthy view of who they are as God's people and their purpose, there are a few things that might need to be touched on again to help them see how what they believe definitely doesn't mix with some of the other prevalent beliefs that still float around out there.

We were able to talk about some different ideas for keeping things going in a healthy direction. It was also pretty clear that there is still a big need for another full time couple or family to help out with the Mibu Ministry, mainly with the tasks of continuing lesson development and discipleship/training. The Mibu Ministry will now 'officially' be listed as having this need. We're praying and hoping for God to direct the right people to us here.

Thank you all for your prayers and support!

Geoff and Shannon

Monday, August 15, 2011

Meetings in Mibu

Mid Saturday morning. I was working on a project under our house when I noticed Sesi coming up the trail to our house. I could tell just by the way he was walking that he had a purpose... and that he was pleased about something.

I stopped what I was doing and walked out to greet him. Then it clicked. Ah yes, this morning they had had a meeting for the men of the church; one of the first ones they'd been able to get together for quite some time now. Sesi and Keteng had been trying to get regular meetings like this going on and off for about a year now, but just couldn't get anyone to show any interest. The purpose of the meetings is to pray and discuss church matters (planning, issues, etc). The two of them wanted to try one more time here to get a meeting together. I remembered the recent worry that nobody would show up again and that maybe people are just upset for some reason. All this came back to me as I pondered the reason for his happy demeanor. I realized that the meeting had happened and had probably gone well, so after some small talk I asked him if they had met.

Sesi's face lit up as he prepared to tell exactly why he'd come up. Before he started though, we agreed that it would be good to talk over some coffee in my house. Once inside, what he proceeded to tell me had both of us smiling big and praising God. Quite a few people had shown up and were eager to be involved. They met and discussed topics of concern. Then they prayed together. Out of concern for the growth and well being of the christian community here in Mibu they focused primarily on these points in their prayer and discussion; 1) That God would help us, here in Mibu but also the church as a whole, to hear and follow his word and to be a good witness to those who have not yet heard. 2) After Sesi and Lookas have worked with me translating into chapter 3 of First Timothy, they've felt rather burdened about the need for overseers and other servants of the church to emerge over time. They acknowledged that nothing we men can do will make the right leaders. It's all God. So they asked God to begin to prepare these folks and help us discern who among them is qualified. They also discussed some other church issues like meeting times, and other smaller topics.

Knowing that a small contingent of national believers from the Itutang people is scheduled to visit this week. A good part of their discussion revolved around what they hoped to get out of their visit. The visit is part of an effort to provide mutual encouragement between churches. We hope that the visit of these Itutang men will be a huge blessing to the Mibu folks, maybe giving them some insight into their own church maturity and direction. The Mibus are extremely excited about it and as such, developed a game plan; a schedule and a list of topics they want to discuss with their Itutang brothers. A couple of the bigger topics they're hoping to talk about are persecution in the church and also to share about struggles that each church encounters.

Then finally, in their meeting, they decided to plan ahead of time a few of the topics they want to discuss and pray about next Saturday when they meet again.

Hearing about these men coming together for the sake of community dependance on God's direction and in the heart of keeping things moving forward was a huge encouragement to our hearts. Please join us in a prayer of thanks to God and also that this kind of involvement could be maintained over the long term.

Other prayer requests:
1) We're planning on traveling quite a bit over the next month and a half (Aug22-Oct5). We'll be away from Mibu all that time, attending a full month's worth of language and translation workshops and then attending our annual regional conference. Pray for our family during our travels to the different locations. Pray too for the workshops to be a fruitful time of both learning and fellowship.
2) Also keep the Mibu church in your prayers during our time of absence; that they would continue in faithful dependance on God's direction, in whatever they face.
3) Continue to pray for the translation process here. It seems so slow sometimes. We need constant growth in our abilities to be able to get this job done.
4) Pray for the health, logistics, finances and other support that is needed throughout this entire translation process. God's economy doesn't suffer like ours does. We trust and rest in him for all our physical needs as well as spiritual.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Interfacing Again

We had to say goodbye this morning to some guests who have been here for the last week.

You may remember a couple months ago how Shannon and I had the opportunity to teach about bible translation and talk about life in the bush with some students in the 'Interface' program. We both really enjoyed the 'full circle' effect of having been through the Interface program ourselves more than 10 years ago and now being in a place to bless others who are similarly seeking God's will for their young lives, questioning whether God might be directing them to serve in an unreached tribal location on the other side of the world! We enjoyed being a part of that so much that we wanted more! So we invited a group of those students to make a side trip here into Mibu where they could experience tribal ministry happening.

These 3 young men and 4 young women (joined by the Devines, an NTM couple who came to provide food for everyone) were amazing! Watching them jump right in, unhesitatingly spending many long hours with the Mibu people, despite the HUGE cultural and linguistic gap, was such an encouragement to us! As they tried learning some little tidbits of the Mibu language and culture, and listened to different Mibu testimonials about God's work in their personal lives and the life of the community, and as they spent time visiting in their homes, gardens, village and surrounding areas, they formed relationships that served to encourage on all sides. For the Mibu people, they were more than a little excited to have the opportunity to encourage those to whom God may be directing toward serving in another tribal location who has yet to hear the gospel. For the students, seeing and hearing the Mibu believers spoke to the power of God's word in any culture or language. For us, seeing what may possibly be the next generation of young church planters excited and in awe of God's work here reminded us of ourselves just over 10 years ago when we were on an Interface side trip similar to this one.

We're so thankful to have had the honor of sharing this experience with these young folks this last week!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Good News in Mibu

Here's a noteworthy update from our co-workers, the Tartaglias!

Moofore's house and garden is one of my favorites in the whole area. His
steep yard drops away on three sides, showcasing a wild panorama of the
surrounding mountains and valley rivers. It is still the only place I've
been where both the village of Mibu and the village of Beng can be looked
down upon from one single spot. It makes me happy to think of Moofore here,
on top of his local world. Because of the severe deformity of both his feet,
he seldom leaves his own yard.

When the Gospel was first presented here 5 years ago, we stood by and
watched with amazement as God turned almost every adult to Himself. But
there were some who did not believe. Moofore was one of them. I've gone to
visit with him twice since coming here a few weeks ago, and today the
conversation touched on spiritual things. This was the first time I have
seen evidence of concern for his own sin and status with God. He asked about
overcoming the real problem of sin and its penalty. At that point, I asked
if we could pick up the conversation again in a few days, and asked him to
keep thinking about that very question, and to ask others what their
thoughts are. (After hundreds of conversations about this, I know there is a
lot of good understanding out there.) I told him I'd visit again in a few
days, and would like to ask you to pray with me for Moofore before we
continue. Might this be his time to understand and believe the Gospel?

---------- then a week later------------

I went to visit Moofore again at his hut. Walking up the path to his place,
I felt such a sense of the bigger purpose God has for us during our stay on
earth. Isn't it incredible that hundreds of people can be praying for the
salvation of one man on the other side of the earth? What a privilege it is
to be involved in what He is doing in the world. 

Moofore called me in, and we sat talked for a while on local matters before
the conversation moved to spiritual things. As we caught up, God brought to
mind the many people who wrote to say they were praying. Thank you, each and
every one of you who prayed! The only thing I felt lacking as we talked
together was the lack of other Mibu believers there with me. So many others
here have been involved in sharing God's Word with him over the years. No
sooner did I have that thought, than two Bible teachers from the Mina
churches (8 hours away) and one of the teachers of the Mibu church poked
their heads through the doorway!!! As they walked into the room my heart was
bursting at how God was answering our prayers. I looked at the men God had
sent at just the right moment (even the right day!). Each of these men has
sacrificed for the sake of the Gospel. And now all this coming together for
one crippled old man! God's patient love truly is great!

The timing was right, and we were eager to talk about Christ. Moofore soaked
it up, interspersing questions and thoughts of his own. We discussed Jesus
being born sin-free, His being God, and also Emmanuel - "God with us". We
talked about how he was called "The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of
the world." We talked about how Jesus miraculously fed thousands of people
and how so many of them sought Jesus not for a relationship with Him, but to
get more food out of Him. Finally we talked about how Jesus was punished not
for His own sins, but for ours. And how God's anger for sin was given
completely to the One who never sinned. In illustrating the wrath of God
being absorbed by Jesus, one of the men pointed to a sheet hanging in the
doorway that was casting a shadow into the house. He said that God's wrath
is like the sunrays, and that Jesus is like the sheet that absorbed the sun,
casting a shadow for us to rest safely in. 

Moofore spoke and answered with real understanding, so we asked him again
where he thought he would go if he died. He said confidently that he would
go to heaven. We asked him about his previous stumbling block - his own sin. His reply: "Because of my own sin I deserve hell. But our penalty, I mean,
MY penalty, has been paid by Jesus!"

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Furthering discipleship

(This is the message that was supposed to be included with the random picture that just went out. Sorry. Our email system does that sometimes.)

Have we been back in Mibu a month already?! Time sure flies when you're having fun!

Speaking of fun, it's been great to have our co-workers, the Tartaglias back, if even just for a short time. We've had lots of time together to catch up on what God has been doing in our lives, and to talk strategy and the like.

More importantly though, they've been able to spend much needed time providing personal, one on one encouragement for the believers here in Mibu as well as continuing to teach through 1 Corinthians in the church meetings. With me focusing primarily on getting God's word translated into the Mibu language, this kind of ongoing discipleship has been minimal at best. Shannon has been able to spend some time with the ladies here in Mibu, but the attention for developing the men and leaders has been really lacking. Though we've yet to see what the results will be, we're really hoping and praying that Joey's time with the believers here will be a real lasting encouragement.

Meanwhile, we continue to make steps toward getting additional co-workers in here to help us finish the job here in Mibu. Part of that process, as far as New Tribes Mission is concerned, is having an assessment done on the church here. We're making plans for this to happen (hopefully sometime mid-August) where consultants would come and spend some time with the church to assess where they're at and what is still needed here as far as outside help. Once this evaluation is done, then Mibu can be officially placed on 'the list' as a ministry still needing additional help. From there, it'll just be a matter of waiting for God to provide the right family to meet the needs. Would you please be in prayer with us for this whole process of looking for additional co-workers?

Here are some additional areas for which we'd appreciate your prayers:
- For the church here in Mibu to remain encouraged in their relationship with Jesus. Right now there is very little right now in the way of bearing up these young believers. They still need lots of help before they can stand on their own.
- For the ongoing bible translation project. It's a BIG project that we estimate possibly another 9-10 years to complete. Pray for all the factors that have to be in place for this project to be completed successfully (ie. Faithful helpers, physical health, finances, translation consultants, etc.).
- For the remainder of the Tartaglia's visit here in Mibu. They're only here for 13 more days! We, as well as the church here, will miss them greatly!

Friday, July 15, 2011


The attached file was originally sent with another message.

File Name: 2011_04_4548_copy.jpeg

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Full Circle

We just finished up our two weeks of down time in Madang. It was a great time as a family to rest and recharge for ministry in Mibu.

Our co-workers, the Tartaglias, returned for several weeks of service in Mibu too! It was great seeing them after many months. They've already returned to Mibu and we are now in Lapilo (Goroka) awaiting the next time our helicopter is available to take us in (which happens to be tomorrow, the 22nd).

We had a great semi-last minute opportunity arise giving Geoff the chance to teach about bible translation at the Interface program currently going on. Then both of us had some time to talk to the students about what life in the bush is like. What was so cool about this is that it's one of those full-circle kind of experiences. Many of you probably remember the very first time, back in 2000, that Shannon and I came to Papua New Guinea. It was for the Interface program. As a result of doing this six week program, where we lived in huts, spent time learning some of the trade language, attending many classes about tribal missionary service, and hanging out with the local folks, we realized that Papua New Guinea was definitely the place to come serve. Prior to the program, Geoff was gung-ho and ignorant. Shannon was not so sure. But through the interface program we were able to gain a realistic idea of what tribal ministry might look like. And more importantly we saw how God amazingly provided and sustained so many others who were trusting him in their service in so many remote places. After we did Interface, both of us were on the same page regarding where to step next. God really used Interface to give us strong direction in our desire to serve.

So it was really cool for us to be there 11 years later, helping to challenge and encourage a new group of students. Who knows, maybe some of them will become bible translators and church planters some day!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Children of hope... Part 3

Linet (Lee-net) opened her eyes. It was black inside. Through the small unscreened window she could see a section of blue ribbon accenting the distant black mountain peaks. It was early morning. The night was about to finish. The roosters were beginning to crow. As she lay there on the bamboo floor, the little girl became more and more conscious of the penetrating cold, against which the sheet that she shared with her younger brother did little. The chills forced her thoughts straight to the now black fire pit in the middle of the room. Having gone to sleep by the heat of its glowing embers, the darkness residing there now only served to heighten her awareness of just how cold it was.

Her little brother was still asleep next to her as she removed the half of the sheet that covered her and carefully found her way through the dark, to find her father who was still sleeping. "Nan. Nan." she whispered as she nudged his shoulder with her tiny palm. Having elicited only a stir, she tried again. This time he awoke. In the darkness all he could see in front of him was the faint blue glow of pre sunrise making her eyes and teeth the only discernible features of the little silhouette standing over him. "Nan, I'm cold. Make a fire. Let's eat," she said.

He propped up on one elbow and gathered his thoughts. A flitting sense of disappointment came and went as he realized his planned time to himself to read some of God's words and meditate on them in quietness was now gone with the early awakening of one of his children. "Alright. First you need to go get some wood from under the house," he told her. He knew that, as young as she is, this request would only result in smallish twigs and sticks. He would have to wake up her mother so she could go get some proper firewood and bring back some food from the garden. Or maybe he could just get a few pieces of firewood from his brother's house nearby. He got up and slipped out the door where the morning light, still faint on the horizon was quickly turning to orange. Seeing that his brother had plenty of firewood he grabbed a few pieces and brought them back into the house where Linet huddled, trying to keep warm as she waited for him. Her little sticks lay there at the end of the rectangular fire pit.

Her dad poked around in the ashes exposing the few remaining embers that lay buried from the previous evening's fire. He combined them together and quickly had a nice little fire going with the wood that had been gathered. Linet sat there on the edge of the fire pit, feet inside it, and waited to be warmed. Meanwhile her dad laid back down to get a little more rest. Her stomach grumbled, reminding her of the hunger. "Nan, Nan, I'm hungry! Can we eat?" Giving up on the idea of continued slumber, he sat up again and nudged her mother out of sleep. "Do we have any food leftover in the pot from yesterday?" he quietly asked her. She stirred a bit and then mumbled hoarsely, "That food is old. We'll have to cook up some new stuff. I got some bananas yesterday. Just cook those for now. I'll get some more food to cook in the pot in a little bit." Linet's dad went over and took the bananas out of the string bag where they hung on the wall. Taking them over to the fire, he carefully separated each one and placed them on the fire where they would cook. Once cooked, he carefully peeled the blackened skins off, handing a steaming banana to Linet. He told her to place it on the edge of her sheet on the floor. "It's hot. Let it cool off a bit first," he said.

After complying, Linet looked across to the other side of the fire pit where her dad was sitting. She watched his face glowing orange in the firelight as he got his book out, opened it up and began reading to himself. She wondered about that book. She'd asked him about it several times. He seemed to read it a lot. He had tried reading a bit out loud to her not long ago, but it didn't mean much and she had gone off distracted and played with her brother. But still, that book made her wonder. She knew that some of the recent changes in their family were because of that book. She also knew it had something to do with how God helps us. Her mom and dad had even fought over it one time. They didn't know it, but she witnessed the whole thing, peeking through a gap in the wall planking, as it happened outside their house. Whatever her dad was reading in that book, it made him want to change things. Her young mind could recognize her dad's frustration with one of her moms who would argue about these changes. Along with the confusion, Linet had some happy thoughts about some of the changes. Her dad was much more gentle with her and her brother than he used to be. He paid more attention to her now too. But still, she wondered. There were times, when the talk of change seemed only to add to the tension. It seemed like her moms and her dad weren't very sure. She remembered having watched him on many occasions talk with his friend, the tall white skin, about kids and the way families are in their houses. He always had lots of questions. Her mom had had similar conversations with the tall white skin's wife. Linet's little mind was brought back from wondering as her stomach reminded her of the banana that would be ready for her by now.

The rest of the family was waking up now, joining Linet and her father around the edge of the rectangular fire pit and eating cooked bananas. The sun had appeared above the mountains now. Its brilliance seemed to seek out every little crevice and hole in the facing wall of woven bamboo. It beamed its light into the darkness, its little parallel rays cutting through the smoke. Linet's birth mom went to the garden, coming back after a while with the day's nourishment. Now sweaty from the trek and the burden of a full string bag hung on her head, she went back to a small room and began to prepare the food for cooking. Meanwhile Linet's little mom finished nursing her youngest brother and took the pot and dishes out to wash them and fetch water for the day's needs. After the food was cooked and the family had eaten, Linet's father called her and her little brother and told them that he and their two moms would be gone all day, working in the coffee garden. The kids would need to stay home. It was just too inconvenient to bring them along for that job. They didn't want to risk being slowed by the young ones and have to walk back in the rain. Their grandma would be around if they needed anything. Otherwise, her and her younger brother, Malcolm, were pretty much free to do whatever. Both Linet and Malcolm cried as they watched their parents heading up the trail on their way to the coffee garden.

Standing outside their house, Linet scanned the mostly vacated village. Most of the adults were out picking their coffee. The older kids were in school. She could hear the rhythmic drone of their scholastic drilling echoing up from the school house down below. Linet couldn't wait until she was old enough to attend school with the rest of the children. But for now, she found herself, with her little brother following, meandering up to her grandma, who she spotted sitting in the entrance to her house, smoking her tobacco.

After spending the morning around her grandma and eating leftover food from the meal they'd eaten earlier that morning, Linet heard the sounds of some other children in the middle of the village. She wandered out to join them. It was a small group of kids who, like her, were too young to be in school yet and found themselves busy each day with whatever their imaginations could conjure up. One of the boys was her cousin. Being mostly boys, the chosen activity which kept their focus was shooting their little mini sized arrows with the mini sized bows their fathers or uncles had fashioned for them. Lizards, leaves, tree stumps - whatever. If it posed a potential target, they were all over it. But the ultimate prize for these young hunters was a bird. This particular bird unwittingly became the center of their attention after flying over them and into a tree at the lower end of the village. Linet was content to merely be along for the ride. Girls didn't hunt. So she followed the group who's interest in the game they played was just heightened into something more serious. No longer loosely galavanting around letting their arrows fly, they were focused now. All of them wanted to be the one that shot that bird. They were in a stiff and quiet run now, Linet bringing up the rear as she observed. She watched them as their eyes pierced the foliage of that tree, scanning for signs of that little bird. One little boy whispered, "There!" and quickly fired his crooked little arrow which twisted through the air, missing. The bird flew. The boys followed. On to the next tree. At one point, Linet got caught up in the excitement and picked up a rock, throwing it at the bird. The bird quickly flitted away out of the aim of the boys who hunted it. Linet's cousin approached her angrily, yelling about how she messed up their hunt. He acted on his anger and hit the little girl squarely in the face with two blows of his hand, eliciting tears and screaming - and blood.

Play time was over. Linet screamed out her frightened pain as she made her way back home. Her grandmother met her in the village, having detected an issue needing attention. When she saw the blood she queried in her terse tone that was so typical. Linet managed to blubber out through the tears that her cousin had hit her. The old woman took Linet, going behind the house and digging up some cognac roots with which to treat Linet's wound. She washed a piece of root, then chewed it up to a loose wad of pulp before placing it on the corner of Linet's lip from where the blood had coursed a now coagulated path down to the under side of her chin.

Tired from the trauma and the pain, Linet fell asleep on the bamboo floor of her grandmother's house. She was awakened by the familiar sound of her mother's voice, who had just returned from the garden. Excited, she woke up and called out to her as she went outside to greet her. Her mom commented her surprise on the now swollen cheek and lip that graced Linet's face. Her father and her little mother, who were just a few minutes behind also joined in asking who had hit her. Upon further examination they noticed too that a few of Linet's baby teeth were loosened on the side where she'd been hit. "He must have hit her really hard!" her father exclaimed. Linet's cheek and lip hurt, but she was just happy to see her mom and dad back. She ran with them back to their hut.

That evening, when the sun had set and everyone had eaten their fill. A couple men from a nearby village came into the house and were sitting around the fire, smoking tobacco and talking with Linet's dad. Linet lay down sleepily. Though her attention was being pulled away by her drift to unconsciousness, she overheard her moms and her dad starting to talk with the visitors about her encounter with her cousin that day. The last thing she would remember was a quiet group chuckle as the story was being relayed. As the conversation carried on one of the visitors wondered if her parents did anything to the offending boy. "No, it's not like we were there. We didn't see what happened," they said, both in agreement on the issue. Following the pattern of social etiquette, some betelnut was passed around, each taking one and chewing it as they continued to socialize. The discussion then went on to a series of more random topics. As the betelnut high died off, so did the conversation. The day's toils in the garden were catching up to them. The last thing Linet's father mentioned before the visitors departed was that he still had a lot of work to do tomorrow with his coffee. He debated whether or not to bring the kids. Or maybe one of the mothers could stay home and keep them from getting into trouble. He'd decide in the morning. For now, all he perceived between now and another day's labors was a good night's sleep for his family.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Children of Hope... Part 2

NAME: Max (short for Makau, 'ma-cow') AGE: ~10-12

This morning my father and I woke up in our temporary lean-to out in the bush. My mom and dad and myself and my three younger brothers usually stay in one of our houses, either close by our pigs or in the village. But dad is splitting wood for planking on the side of a new house he's making. It's a big job so we're camping out near the work site pretty regularly lately. This morning we woke up with the sun and started our fire to keep warm. Looking forward to our special treat of leftover pig meat from yesterday, we put it (stuffed in bamboo) on the fire and heated it up. After eating I left my dad there. He would later go to another village about a day's hike away. He's the elected local level councilman who is expected to be at a big court meeting. As for myself, I headed down to Mibu for school. Since it was still early, I thought it would be a good time to take the long route and hunt for birds and check our traps along the way.

NAME: Longge (loang-gay) AGE: ~17-18

I left my husband and 3 month old baby girl at home this morning so I could get some food and supplies for the day. We needed some bamboo for water and for cooking and food storage. We also needed some taro and sweet potato as well as some greens to cook with our meals. Our garden is about 1/2 mile away up the mountain so I had to leave early this morning so I could get back before everyone got too hungry. Sometimes we live with my dad and my two moms, as well as 10 of my 11 younger siblings, so it's a lot of food I have to get. After we eat, I'll be joining many of the other women who go up to the water. There, us ladies will wash the pots and pans, the clothes, and also to fill up the water jugs for our families. I'll probably take one, or even a few, of my younger siblings to help me out.

NAMES: from left to right, Lakwan, Kwobe, Sama AGES: ~7-8, ~4-5, ~8-10

We're just coming back from getting some pit-pit from Sama's mom and dad's garden this morning. Her mom asked her to go get some food and we three friends decided to all go together to bring back a bit of food for each of our respective families. Some time after we eat we'll probably play outside with our other young friends where we'll spend the morning kicking and throwing little balls around that we've made out of various materials we've found. We were doing that yesterday and it was so much fun!

NAME: Nines (nee-nace) AGE: 4

Me and my mom live with my maternal grandmother as well as my mom's brother and his wife and my two cousins. My dad died when I was very young, so it's just me and my mom and our family. This morning my mom is leaving me at home with grandma so that she can pick coffee with the rest of the family. She says that's how they get money to second-hand clothes and other things each year. Since it's time for harvesting coffee right now, lots of other parents are leaving their kids in Mibu as well, so I'll bet a lot of my other friends will be here in the village and we can play. Yesterday, my mom had a bunch of other women over at our house to pray for our families and for the community. My mommy asked me to go outside because I was being too loud. Lately, she's been telling me a lot that she's changing the way she raises me. She says that she wants to start training me the way that God wants her to. She says she wants me to learn to think about and follow God's talk.

NAME: Pos (short for Posilongge 'pos-i-loang-gay') AGE: ~9-10

My two brothers and one sister are all younger than me. I'm old enough now that I go with my dad, when I'm not in school, to help him with jobs in the garden, collecting firewood, or other things. Sometimes, when mom or dad can't take me with them, they give me the task of keeping my younger siblings out of trouble. Most of the time though, when it's not time for school, I enjoy playing with my friends. My dad made me a bow and arrow set out of bamboo. My friends all have theirs too, so we go around and shoot at things with them. Every now and then we actually get a bird! We also like to play games when we have marbles, or sometimes we'll play a game where we fling a spinning top made from a coconut shell and see how many seeds we can knock over. Today while I was playing, the tall-white-skin came down and asked if he could take my picture. I said it was alright and then tried to look like I should for a picture. He told me I always look angry and then asked if I know how to smile. I think he got what he wanted eventually though, because he teased me a little bit in front of my friends and I just couldn't help but crack a little smile as we all started to laugh.They're the ones next in line to hear and hopefully respond to the word of God here in Mibu. Investment in their training is where it's at if one wants to leave a Godly legacy behind. With the fairly recent arrival of God's word and teaching in their language, it's power, manifest through changed lives has the potential to powerfully effect these younger ones. As you join us in prayer for both the believing parents here in Mibu and for their children, we thought we'd try to provide a window through which you could take a quick glimpse into the lives of this upcoming generation. Small as this window may be, we hope that these little snap-shots of life might help you connect more with the people you're praying for.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Children of Hope... Part 1

Children of Mibu
One thing that often gets overlooked in our updates is the children of Mibu. Yet, more and more, the focus of the church here is on the youngsters. These young ones are where it's at when considering the long term continuation of the gospel message and thus, the survival of the church here in Mibu. I've heard it well said that, "If we don't learn how to train our children up to know and honor God then all this (the Mibu Church) will fall down someday."

So true. But this is no small hurdle to overcome. As you may or may not remember, a couple of years ago Shannon and I worked on developing and teaching some parenting 'basic training' type lessons. The idea was to plant the seeds of basic biblical parenting principles. The lessons covered topics such as God's design and his view of parenting, God given parental authority, His expectation of parents, our need and expectation (even having the goal) of obedience, basic disciplinary principles, and more. These lessons have been taught through one time (with the need for much review in the future) and printed as booklets. These printed booklets have been distributed to every family.

But as many of us parents have learned (and are still learning), changing patterns of parenting is a long, often very difficult journey. Adding to that difficulty is the fact that many of the old patterns here had arisen from a near zero hope of the parental capacity to shape and direct children, as well as a lack of understanding and/or willingness to exercise parental authority. The beginning of this journey here in Mibu has a sharp learning curve. At the moment, we would estimate that we're somewhere pretty early on in that curve with a ways to go.

With the current shortage of manpower present here the continuation of lessons and discipleship in this area is slowed tremendously. We're encouraged that Shannon has been able to get out with the ladies each week and spend time reviewing some of the topics in the parenting lessons, adding depth through more practical examples and discussion. Yes, we are indeed seeing growth as parents begin to take hold of the biblical truths that have been taught.

More useful than the book though is the idea of seeing these principles lived out before them; an example they can follow. Our family dynamics aren't perfect by any means. At the heart of things we share all the same struggles that our friends in Mibu do; Anger, frustration, feelings of hopelessness, apathy and more... All these are our natural bent. It is here that the one thing that can truly shine forth and make a difference is God's loving grace. His grace provides us with the foundation needed for forgiveness and understanding and unity as well as the ability to continue forward with our eyes on Him. When family life begins to be characterized by an understanding of his grace then that family is onto something. We hope and pray that our family and the families in Mibu would only continue to grow in their understanding and experience of the outworkings of God's loving grace in their lives.

In order to help you, our prayerful and financial supporters, 'connect' with this area of life in Mibu we'd like to take the next few updates and try to open up for you a window into the world of the children here in Mibu. If you feel the burden as we do, would you take some time to be in prayer on a regular basis for the future of these young torch bearers and for the parents, who by divine appointment have been given the task of passing the torch.

FYI... Translation check postponed
We were ramping up the excitement for our upcoming translation check. But unfortunately as our translation consultant was traveling from the US, he was informed that his wife had had a heart attack. We're glad to hear that she's OK now and ought to recover nicely. But this means that our translation check will have to happen another time. Till then, we'll just keep plugging away on this huge job of translating the New Testament.