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