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.