Sunday, February 21, 2021

Mibu Airstrip Project

The remote Mibu people of Papua New Guinea have been working on their airstrip for well over 20 years! Literally moving mountains by hand! Their airstrip was eventuallly approved, but due to an area of soft subsoil the first plane that landed experienced a devastating prop strike. The materials needed to correct this problem on their airstrip are far beyond the local community's ability to pay for. We're asking for help from all who might be led to give toward this need so their airstrip can finally be opened. Any amount helps! Gifts are tax deductible. Be sure to follow the link below. Check out the video there too!

If you're on social media, be sure to help our posts about the Mibu Airstrip Project get more traction by liking, commenting, and sharing!

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

In Lieu of Garage Sale/Bluegrass Fundraisers

Hello everyone! As you well know the covid pandemic has made many normal activities difficult or impossible. You probably noticed the wildly fun and successful Mibu Ministry garage sale and bluegrass gospel concert fundraisers that our core team put on haven't happened this year. Many have come to look forward to these each time. We were recently blessed to hear that despite not being able to do either this go around, our awesome core team has decided to take it virtual and put together a gofundme fundraiser in lieu of both. Here's the link to the page they created!

Whether you've been a part of the annual events, or you're just hearing about them for the first time, take a look at the page they've set up in their stead! Consider whether you'd like to participate in this year's big fundraiser, and then help spread the word… share the link from the gofundme page via email and on facebook.

We appreciate all of you, and your huge part in Mibu Ministry all these years! Thank you for your partnership!

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Move complete... Moving forward!

Greetings from Papua New Guinea! We thought it would be a good time to check in and catch you up to date on the latest with the Mibu Ministry!

If you recall from our last update we were getting ready to move again. That move is now complete, and we're mostly settled in to our new place for the next 7 months. We're so thankful to be here, if even for just a short period. Since we moved into a place that already is furnished, we decided it was a good time to simplify our lives a bit and sell off a bunch of our furniture so we don't have to store and deal with quite so much when we come home on furlough this next year. We also packed up quite a bit of our own personal belongings (the ones we aren't selling yet) as if we're going on furlough now, so that we don't have to do it again later when we do get ready to go.
School was originally slated to start up again in September here, but due to all the cancelled flights because of covid, the school staff just hasn't been able to get back. So the next date they're going to try to start is in Jan some time. Till then Shannon continues to homeschool all four kids, and has even volunteered to help a local neighbor with one of their kids who is in Abby's grade. So five kids altogether! Shannon is a rockstar, people! The kids' school is all laid out on a computer program that they follow. Definitely different than what they're used to!
Speaking of school. Next year when we're home, we're planning on putting at least one of the kids in a Christian school (hoping we can get in at Valley Christian). Arizona has a wonderful tax credit program called ACSTO where families can get a tax credit (not a deduction, but full tax credit) for giving toward a child's education in a private school. We'll be putting some more information out as the time gets nearer, but we'd appreciate anyone willing to consider giving toward this next year of education for our oldest at Valley.

And speaking of coming home, Shannon and I have been enjoying getting a head start on shopping for a house for our time home, and have even found ourselves fascinated by the world of real estate investing. We've been learning a lot in our evenings particularly in the realm of creative financing and rentals since we'd like to be able to rent this place out as an investment when we're away.
Other than about a month long interruption for moving, the translation project continues along nicely. I've managed to draft up to ch 20 in Revelation! Getting so so close to the finish of that book! I should be working with my translation helper at this point, but all our communication with Mibu has been cut off because of an issue with the power out there. We've been unable to get out there to fix it yet, so it's been about a month without much communication at all. The latest has us hoping that either Chris or myself can get out there in November to fix that and get the system up and running again. It just highlights again how many cogs in the machine all have to be working in order to get our work done! So while I can't work with my translation helper at the moment, I continue to draft ahead. I hope to maybe finish drafting the book before I work with him again, maybe toward the end of the year.

The little bit of communication we have had has been all positive reports of how the church is doing. We've heard some little tidbits that sound like there may be some rising persecution in a couple of the outreach areas, but we haven't been able to determine for sure. But overall the church remains strong, people continue to meet and encourage one another in the Lord and to move forward in hope! This is such good news to us to hear even just little tidbits from leaders who remain encouraged in their service! Yes!

Thank you all for your continued prayers and regular monthly support! Your partnership means so much to us! We're so humbled to have you all a part of the team! For those who may not have had an opportunity yet, you can follow this link which will give several tax deductible options for how to give.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

March Onward

Someone recently asked me for info about our blog. I had to ashamedly ask myself… "When was the last time you posted anything on your blog, you doofus?!" March! March is the last time I posted anything to our blog! For those who follow us exclusively via email or via our blog here, our apologies. Even more so since with all the events of the world and back home in the US, March seems more like forever ago! So much has happened! So let me catch you up on what's been going on here with us and with the church in Mibu in Papua New Guinea!
You may recall we had a wonderful opportunity to go into Mibu as a family back in March, right when all the covid stuff was starting to explode in the news.
I've said it quite a few times, and I'm sure you can recall at least once, but often when I'm making trips into Mibu I have a mountain of translation tasks to get done in there that I can't do from out in town. Well I've been experimenting with and training some of my helpers to do more and more of these tasks over video conferencing! It's been going surprisingly well so far!

Just a few weeks ago our family was able to make it into Mibu again. It might be our last time in there as a family before we head back to AZ for furlough next year! I was so encouraged and proud of the leaders in Mibu, just to see how they continue to do, their faithfulness and their zeal for the Lord and for his work in their own lives and in the community! I'm also really happy to report that after I did a bit more training with a handful of people on the video conferencing thing, I ran out of any more of the translation work that needed to wait till I was in there to do! No more backlog and trying to catch up with all those comprehension checks! We've been able to do the whole process over video now! Not that there wasn't anything to do for the remainder of our time. No ma'am! Plenty of other little tasks that I can just pick up and do wherever I am. So those are how I finished my time there.

Have I ever told you that after we do all that work translating into the Mibu language, we get to translate it BACK TO ENGLISH. Yeah… not my favorite task, but essential none the less, so I tend to save that for filler work, to break things up.
The kids all enjoyed their time in the tribe again. Skyler was able to bring a friend from town too! It was her friend's first time in the bush and was quite the experience for her!
After we flew out as a family, and were back in town for only a week, Skyler and I WENT BACK into Mibu for another week. We joined a team from Finisterre Vision who wanted to meet with the church leaders and talk strategy regarding some upcoming surveys that they're planning, and just to talk about other areas of ministry potential. Skyler came along to help serve the parents by caring for their kids and freeing them up to have meetings and to get out and be with people. She was such a blessing (proud daddy!). For one of the families it was their very first time in a remote bush location. It was just good all around for them to be able to meet with and hear the heart of the Mibu church and its leaders. Once again I was really just blown away to sit and listen to the leaders talk about strategy and vision for taking God's word to the people around them. They're so well thought out and are so good at communicating their vision! Just so cool to see!
Since coming back out I've continued working on Revelation, the everlasting translation project! No really I love it, but this one has just taken so long. I'm seeing the end here soon as I've just rounded the corner into chapter 18! I'm so pleased with how well the translation communicates. The people I've checked with are able to follow it well and are encouraged by its messaging! I can't wait to put lessons together for it and teach it!

One thing that's been big on our minds lately is regarding our upcoming furlough next year. Yup… already! It might seem a bit early to be thinking about that, but there is a lot that goes into planning for that year home. We need to figure out housing, cars, school for the kids… that's a biggie… where are we going to send them??? We're slowly getting a handle on some of those logistics. School is still a bit of a mystery, especially if we need to apply for the ACSTO tax credit program far ahead of time. Whew!

One really big thing that we're moving toward is finally buying a house this time. We've hemmed and hawed about it over the years, never feeling right about pulling the trigger. This time, we're ready! Well mostly. We're still trying to save like mad to be able to pay for it, as well as a van and maybe a small car, and some medical stuff we're going to need to do. But yeah, we're committing ourselves to buying a house this time! Let's do this! With the age of our kids and just where we're at in life, it's clearly time!

Speaking of housing here, we're actually planning on… gulp… moving again here back to the main center where we can be closer to the school and the help that's needed with school. We actually really really really don't relish the thought of packing up and moving again here, but we're compelled just because of what it means for the kids' success in school and also for the reduction of other non-work interruptions that our current location imposes. So we're thankful to have a house available there the last 9 months or so before we come home on furlough.

Oh and school is scheduled to start up again September 15th! So very grateful that it seems we're able to get all the right people in place to start the school year up, even if a bit late!

I think that catches you up on the latest with us and with the church in Mibu!

Once again we just want to express our gratitude for all of you who pray and who give to this ministry. We could not do it without you, and we appreciate your partnership! We're so humbled to have you all a part of the team! For those who may not have had an opportunity yet, you can follow this link which will give several tax deductible options for how to give.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

How Are the Husas?

You might be wondering how we might be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. I'll summarize first by saying we're fine right now, and that we're definitely affected in many ways, much like you all are back home, yet with some differences. More on that after I write about our recent time as a family in Mibu.

The Mibu Ministry continues despite COVID-19. I happen to have the perfect job to keep going in this situation… sitting in an office, translating God's word into the Mibu language. Prior to the heightened reactions here to the pandemic, we had the wonderful opportunity to go into Mibu as a family! I've been in several times on my own, and once with Skyler. But the rest of the family hasn't been back in since we moved out nearly 2 years ago! The short version of why that is has to do with the extreme costs of getting in and back out. But the Lord graciously provided the means to make it in together this time; something we're so very grateful for!

It was such a joy to be back in the house again that the kids basically all grew up in! Our family dynamics are so different in there and it was nice to step back in to that if even just temporarily. It reminded us of some dynamics we'd like to be sure to hold on to when we got back to our town lives. We had a steady flow of visitors in our house, and we did our share of visiting as well, enjoying catching up, doing meals together, and enjoying the fellowship we share together under the common hope that we have in Jesus! It was such an encouragement to see how the church and it's shepherd-leaders continue to stand firm and grow in their faith!

I had all 10 of my days filled with translation tasks that are harder or impossible to do from town. I almost exclusively focused on checking 1 and 2 Thessalonians and also Revelation (all that's been translated so far) for comprehension. I was able to get one more solid round of this checking done for all of that, and now have some areas to focus on cleaning up a bit based on those checks. It was a good time sitting and going through all that material with a handful of folks who were super encouraged not just to see more of God's talk made clear in their language, but to be following the messages of that talk. For some it's their first exposure to those particular letters. But it's all the more Jesus-focusing for them to hear, strengthening their faith and their walk with the Lord.

While we were in Mibu we continued to follow closely the developments around the COVID-19 pandemic. Watching the events and reactions escalate the way they did in just those short 10 days (and continue to even today) hardly seemed real! The whole thing reminds me that we definitely tend to live in an illusion in which we perceive a great deal more control over our lives than we actually do. We have systems and habits in place that we make up our 'normal', and we take for granted the fragility of all that. This pandemic reminds me of how little control we actually have over many of our circumstances. When that illusion gets stripped away, looking through the initial fog of anxiety, I'm reminded where we really get our peace from… our Creator God who DOES have control, and who does have a purpose, and who calls us his, and who continues to love and care for us through any and all of life's circumstances. He is where our hope is.

So how are we experiencing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic? In many ways it is not too unlike what our many friends and family in the US and in other places around the world are experiencing. The big difference is that we are overseas, and any opportunities to repatriate to the US have dwindled if it ever came down to it for us. Thankfully our family has not felt the need. But we're thankful that a number of our friends and co-workers were able to make it through one of the last remaining windows before it closed. School has ceased and so Shannon prepares to take up homeschooling our kids for the remainder of the school year. As of now there has been only one confirmed case of COVID-19 in PNG, and it was an imported case with no evidence of local transmission. For now we remain commited to making whatever adjustments are needed and continuing with Mibu Ministry as much as possible with restrictions in place. We continue to follow the news and connect with family, and to pray for you all. We would ask that you continue to pray for us here as well!

Thank you so much to everyone who prays and who gives for this ministry to happen! We couldn't be here without you all holding us up!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Please Pray - Opposition Continues

In our last update we were praising the Lord for moving in the heart of someone who was strongly opposed to the gospel in one of the locations where the Mibu church is doing an outreach. I'm still amazed by that. Keep your eyes out… I just recorded one of the church leaders telling the amazing story from his perspective. I need to put subtitles in it and then I'll post it!

What I'm writing about today is the other group I wrote about who was still opposed to the gospel and causing trouble for the church. That opposition continues to grow. If you remember, there was a family in the village of Joso who was opposed when the Mibu church was invited there to bring the gospel message. Their son, Semi, who you see in picture below with the swollen neck and face, became a believer despite their protestations. He chose to stand firm on the work of Jesus on the cross and the hope that is assured through his resurrection rather than the cargo cult beliefs and animism that his family and ancestors mixed in with shallow religious practices. Semi, about a year after becoming a child of God, died from some kind of cancer. His family is blaming those who brought the gospel message to them, saying that their son died because he listened to 'Satan's' talk. Semi's father has been going around blaming not only the church but also Ethnos360 (NTM) for his son's death. Unfortunately there are quite a few people in the surrounding area who are latching on to the things Semi's family has been saying.
The rumors are being spread, and now in one of the other outreach villages, Kookwik, about a day's hike away, where there has been a maturing church for a few years now, some opposition leaders severely beat one of the bible teachers, Banai, and his wife. Thankfully they are both recovering from their injuries, though she may be left with a permanent issue in her hip as a result. The growing opposition is threatening to burn the teachers' homes and belongings with gas. They're actively going around trying to dissuade anyone else from paying attention to the gospel teaching.

The church in Kookwik sent word via one of their teachers, Davison (pictured below), and are asking for help from the church in Mibu and from us. Sesi and I met with Davison, heard some of the difficulties that are being caused over there, and prayed together that God would protect the church there, and that he would do what only he can do, change the heart of man. Meanwhile we're contemplating some possible actions to try to keep the peace and not have the spread of the gospel hindered as the opposition intends to do.

I wish I had recorded the prayer of Sesi today as it was a prayer of deep faith and dependence on God and trust in his Word!

Would you please join us in prayer with us over the coming weeks for this issue; for protection for the believers there who are being persecuted, but also that God would change the minds of those who are so violently opposed to God's word.

Friday, January 31, 2020

From Opposition to Acceptance!

We have an exciting update to the situation we reported on in our last update about the outreach in Sindama! If you recall the teachers had said that many people (mostly led by one individual) were strongly opposed to the gospel message upon coming to the point of realizing that accepting the truth that God alone is the creator of everything would mean leaving behind a longstanding traditional belief that they themselves are deities of a sort. The confrontation grew intense, and the teachers continued to make the trips to keep developing this gospel message to those who still wanted to hear.

Well you prayed, and the Lord worked amazingly as he always does! It was reported to us recently that Kips, the main instigator in all this (along with those following his lead) continued to come to the teaching. Whether his motivation was to be present in order to oppose, or maybe his conscience being pricked by the Holy Spirit compelling him to keep listening, he and the others continued to come to the daily lessons. When the teachers finally got to the point of teaching about Jesus' life, death and resurrection Kips was moved to the point of tears! Somewhere along the way he must have begun to entertain the possibility that we are indeed created by God alone and that we are made to be in a relationship with him. Somewhere in there he must've begun to agree that our sin separates us from God and that God promised to make the necessary moves to bring us back to him. When Jesus' story was presented Kips must have seen all the pieces come together in that one person and to put his trust in him! Kips broke down in tears publicly and announced his faith in Jesus while also saying how sorry he was for opposing them so strongly!

I don't know about you, but WOW! When we meet opposition like this we can know, as the Mibu teachers do, that God is the one who works in peoples' hearts! Kips presented a seeming impossibility, but God moved him!

Originally we could only report somewhat ambiguously that a small handful of people were left looking to Jesus. But most recently it's been reported that at least 62 people in Sindama are new Christians! What a praise and a reminder that we can't take for granted who's heart God will move in!

Okay so zoom out from Sindama, and make your way up the mountain a ways and zoom back in to the village of Joso. If you recall the Mibu church did an outreach there a couple years ago. Joso is experiencing God at work too with a fledgling church continuing to receive teaching and growing in their faith. They too are not immune to opposition. There is one family there who has remained opposed to the teaching. Their young adult son, Semi, is a believer who just recently passed away from mouth or throat cancer. His family is blaming the Mibu church for his death (even though they helped raise money to get him to the hospital and try to get the care he needs), saying that they are the devil and that they caused this illness to befall their son. Usually when someone dies in Mibu friends and family all gather to view the body and mourn before burying it. Semi's family would not let any of the Mibu believers come to mourn before burying him. They literally blocked the roadway to keep them out. With all the other people from other areas coming as well to mourn, and hearing what Semi's family is saying about the church the Mibus are concerned that it will put a damper in other villages' willingness to hear the gospel message. Please be in prayer for this situation as Semi's family is even talking about taking the Mibu believers to court over their son's death! If we learned anything from Sindama, we know that this is not beyond God's control or ability!

Please continue to pray for the ever growing number of believers in the Mibu area; for the testimony of the church, the teachers taking the word to various places, for hardened hearts to be changed. Thank you so very much for your role in the Mibu Ministry as you faithfully pray!