Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Latest With Mibu Ministry

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

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

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

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

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

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