Friday, April 21, 2006
Where Do You Go Shopping?
Due to our location, getting supplies is no easy task. Usually I travel five fours by truck to a town called Kavieng once a month. It is the only true town on the island. This place is very small and supplies are limited, but for the most part we can get essentials. There are times when I travel by boat to the town of Kokopo, on the island of New Britain for supplies. The boat ride, at times, can be quite the adventure.
To make the trip to Kokopo, my day starts between 4:00am and 5:00am. I first drive to the west coast of the island, which takes one hour. The drive is less than 15 miles, but the road is horrible. I then have the task of finding a good boat heading to Kokopo that day.
The boats that make the trip to the other island are little dinghy boats with a 40 horse engine. I have learned over the last two and half years, which boat operators know what they are doing, and which ones do not. Every year, scores of people die taking these boats from our island to Kokopo or Lihir. Many times these deaths are the result of poor judgment by the boat operator.
When deciding on which boat to take, I also take into consideration how many people are in the boat. On one particular trip to Kokopo, I hired a boat operator named Herman, and his boat. He only had two or three other people going, so this was ideal. As we left, we were about 5 minutes down the coast when a truck from the shore started beeping at us. There were people who wanted to get on our boat. Herman turned the boat and went to pick them up. Before I knew it, the boat was packed. I mean PACKED.
There are no seats on these little dinghies. One simply sits on the floor of the boat. I had no cushion or pillow with me either. When all the people packed into the boat I was forced to the front of the boat sitting Indian style unable to move, because of all the people! So here I was sitting in a cramped position without any ability to change the way I am sitting. As we begin to head out to sea, the front of the boat is slamming every few seconds on the ocean. I am literal bouncing on my back side over and over. This continued for the duration of the boat ride, which was three hours! Remember now, I have no pillow or cushion with me. With all the people on board, I felt like I was a refugee leaving Cuba for Florida!
Half way through the trip, I thought it would b easier just to swim to the other island. I was trying everything I knew to avoid thinking about the pain I was in. I can not tell you how happy I was when we made to the other island. The first thing I bought when we arrived was a PILLOW for the trip back. My backside was sore for over a week. I could hardly sit down any where. Oh, and yes that was the last time I ever traveled on the boat with out a pillow or cushion.
On this day, the trip back would prove to contain one of the most frightening yet funny experiences I have ever had on one of these boat rides. When I make the return trip back to New Ireland I always hire the entire boat. This way I have enough room for my supplies, and I can leave when I want to leave. I had finished all my shopping in Kokopo and I was ready to go back with my pillow ready to go. Herman took off from shore and everything seemed to be going great. The ocean was much calmer then the morning run, but I was still very sore. An hour or so into the trip, Herman turns off the boat. I did not like that. I always imagine the operator unable to start it back up, and thus floating in the ocean while being cooked by the sun. If something like that happens there are no radios on these boats to call for help. There would be no help coming for days. Herman had turned off the boat so he could get some buai to chew. Buai is a nasty habit here in PNG. Buai has a small drug affect and it is very harmful to the body. Well, Herman got his buai and was ready to go now.
As he went to pull start the motor, his arm accidentally hit the key to the engine. The key went flying into the air and went right into the ocean. NO FLOATING device was on the key! I could not believe what I just witnessed. Right behind the key though, Herman went flying into the air diving after the key! This all happened in a matter of seconds. Now, here I am sitting in this boat, with the key and the operator under the water. Well, if you ever need a jump start to your prayer life, this is it!
I guess around 20 to 30 seconds went by and up pops Herman. He then lifts his hand to show me, he retrieved the key! I was thrilled, thankful, overjoyed, happy to see Herman, and ready to kill him at the same time. We made it back to New Ireland without further incident. I arrived home about 7:00pm. Again, just another day in Papua New Guinea!
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
“…Be sure your sin will find you out.”
I have just returned from our mid week prayer meeting service. This night I had to work church discipline for the first time at the church. Any pastor who has done this, knows it is not any fun. It is a very difficult service, yet it is essential when unrepented sin is present.
I am amazed at how the Lord brought one of the men’s sin to light. The Bible is very true when it says, “…Be sure your sin will find you out.” Last Wednesday afternoon, my phone went out. This is nothing unusual though. Our phone lines here in Namatanai go out all the time. Thursday morning, the phone was still out. I began to check if other phones were out as well. I quickly found out my phone was the only one not working. Now, this was unusual.
We have a small phone company office here, where one man works. I went to the office, and informed him my phone was out. He was surprised and said he would call the main office to see if they could correct it. (The main office is on another island.) While there, the political member for our island, Byron Chan, saw me, and he came to talk to with me. He is the equivalent of a senator is the U.S.. He spends very little time on the island. He lives in Port Moresby, the PNG capitol. We talked for a few minutes and he then asked me if I received the money he sent to the church. I told him no, we had not received any offering from him. He told me he gave it last month. I asked him who he gave the money to. He told me the name, and I was stunned. The man was my song leader. I asked Bryon Chan again, just to make sure I understood him right.
I left the office knowing my song leader had stolen money from the church. When I returned home, my phone line was working! The Lord simply turned off my phone, so I would go to phone office and talk with Byron Chan. Thus finding out about the sin in the church. Again, “…be sure your sin will find you out.”
You might think you are getting away with your sin, but the Lord knows exactly what to do. “Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” You might be able to fool the people in the church and your Pastor, but you will never hide your sin from God!
(As a side note, I will be gone for a day or two preaching on the southern part of the island.)
Monday, April 17, 2006
Resurrection Sunday went great!
It did not start out quite so well though. As we woke up on Sunday morning, it was raining heavily. We knew this Sunday would be very busy, and we had many outdoor things scheduled. I began praying the rain would let up. We left our house about 9:00am and headed out for church. There is one part of the road that is impassable, and has been for one week. It is difficult to describe this part of the road, and if I tried, I do not think you would believe me. It is a huge mud pit about 30 yards long and four feet deep. One would have to see it, to appreciate it. :) The village, by this part of the road, cut a path out to drive through, so a vehicle can still get by. They also are charging money to use their “road”. On Saturday, I went and paid to use this road on Sunday. (This “road” is just a path in the jungle.) Well, the owner of the ground where they cut the “road” came running to my truck as I was driving on his land. He had also blocked the road with bamboo. Apparently, word never got to him that I paid to use his road already. He came yelling at me, demanding money. He was convinced I was trying to use his “road” without paying for it. After he finished yelling, I informed I already paid the day before. It was clear this was news to him, and I could see he felt very awkward after just accusing me with such grace. He thought for sure he caught the missionary trying to deceive. After I told him about me paying the day before, he let me pass. How many times we jump to conclusions without first finding out all the facts. James 1:19 gives us all good advice, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:”
After teaching Sunday school class in Sohun, I headed out to church in Kudukudu. I was thrilled to see many visitors for the service. All together there were 87 people there! After Sunday school, I preached on the “what if’s” I posted about prior to this. Four people raised their hand, saying the Lord was dealing with them about their need of salvation. The altar was also full of people praying at the invitation time. After services, I baptized 5 adults. Two of whom were Joel and Rose. I wrote about them in a previous post. Here is the link if you did not read it yet: http://missionary-insights.blogspot.com/2006/02/is-that-pot-hole-or-canyon-this-story.html Joel and Rose are doing great and attending every service.
By this time the rain had let up. It was still cloudy but no rain. This enabled all the ladies to prepare food for a meal. My meal for that day consisted of “kaukau” and greens from their gardens. I also brought rice for everyone as well. Now kaukau is a required taste! Your first time biting into it can be an adventure in itself. It is a root that is commonly eaten here. It is a type of sweet potato. Needless to say my meal was not quite like a Perkins, or Golden Coral meal. WOW, I am really hungry now! After this, we set up a volleyball net, and the people played volleyball. They really enjoy that sport.
Afterwards, my family and I headed back to the house. I think we arrived home about 4:30pm.
I thank the Lord for how he is working on hearts in the village.
Friday, April 14, 2006
“But now is Christ Risen from the dead...”!
(In the last post I focused on the “what if” Paul gave us by saying, “But if Christ be not risen.” Now we will focus on “But now is Christ risen from the dead.”)
The fact is we will never have to worry about the “what if” of Christ not being risen! Therefore all the former things mentioned in my previous post do have meaning. Our preaching is not in vain! Our Faith is not in vain! We are no longer in our sins!
Our preaching is not vain!
This Sunday when I stand up and preach, I can preach with confidence knowing I am preaching truth. Not only this Sunday, but every time I preach the Word of God. Every time I witness for the Lord, I can know I am giving truth. Every time I hear a Biblical sermon, I can truly say, “Amen!”
Neither is my faith vain!
I have not put my faith and thus my life in something that is a lie. Buddah is still dead. Muhammed is still dead. I am so glad my faith is not in a “dead” religion. The fact that I am sitting in Papua New Guinea is not in vain! My work here on this island is not in vain! Every moment in prayer is worth it! Christian, every stand you make for Christ is not in vain. Every battle you face because of your faith is not in vain. All of the Biblical convictions you have, truly, do serve a purpose! Our FAITH is not in vain!
We are no longer in our sins!
The very thing that separates us from God almighty has been removed, sin. Salvation is available to all! Heaven truly is the home of every Christian! I am so glad to know this earth is not my home.
None of this would be possible, if Christ be not Risen! Oh, the importance of the resurrection! However the chapter is not finished yet. There is still more to consider as a result of the resurrection.
Lets look at verse 57, “But thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
What is this victory that comes as a result of Jesus and His resurrection? We have the answer to this from verse 20 through verse 56. The victory is over sin, death, the law, and the grave! Man-kind’s biggest enemies! Think of all that man-kind is doing and has done in history to try and defeat those enemies. All they need to do is turn to Jesus Christ and they can have victory!
In closing, we have heard how with great truth comes great responsibility. We see this fact in verse 58. We have been given a great truth with the resurrection, and verse 58 gives us a responsibility.
I Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore my beloved brethren be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
Knowing this truth of the Resurrection, ought to be enough to persuade us to be faithful in our service to God. It ought to convince us to remove the sin that “doth so easily beset us.” May each of our lives, whether we are missionaries, clerks, salesman, technicians, pastors, doctors, mechanics, housewives, managers etc… be characterized by this verse; steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord!
I hope, after reading this, you have a taste of the importance of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior!!!
Thursday, April 13, 2006
(I have not posted more this past week, because I have been sick. My phone line was also out for a short time. I hope to get back up to speed with the blog.)
I am looking forward to this Sunday. The importance of the resurrection can never be overstated. I Corinthians 15 emphasizes this. This Sunday, I will be taking a break from preaching through John, and I will be preaching from I Corinthians 15.
The three aspects I will be primarily looking at are found throughout the chapter. The first one being found in vs 13, where Paul states, “But if there be no resurrection….” Think of the implications of that statement. There are many times when I have thought about “what ifs” in my life. For instance, what if America had lost the Revolution, or what if I had not entered the US Air Force when I was 19? There is not, however, a “what if” compared to the one the Apostle Paul makes in I Corinthians 15, by stating, “But if there be no resurrection”
The Apostle Paul goes on to list the consequences of this “what if.”
For one our preaching is in vain. All of the great preaching is for nothing. All of the great truths that have been dug out of the scripture are all for nothing. The sermons by Peter and Paul are all for nothing. The Bible itself would be for nothing!
Not only is our preaching vain, but Paul goes on to say, “Our faith is vain;” Our very life is a complete waste of time. The fact that I am sitting in a jungle in Papua New Guinea as a missionary is all for nothing. Every moment I have spent in prayer has been for nothing. The very core of my life is for nothing. And because my faith is in vain, that leads to the next outcome if there be no resurrection.
We “are yet in our sins.” We have no hope. The Lake of Fire is to be our home forever. There is no hope of salvation. We could not be offered grace from God Almighty! The peace that comes with knowing we are eternally secure is gone. The joy of serving God is not possible.
This would then make us “of all men most miserable.” (vs 19)
But the fact is, Christ DID rise from the dead. I like how God had Paul state it. You can see Paul’s excitement to pen in verse 20, where he states “But now is Christ risen from the dead,”!
My next post we will turn are attention from "But if Christ be not risen" to “But now is Christ risen from the dead.”
Saturday, April 08, 2006
I wanted to write a post today, but I have not been feeling well this afternoon. As a result, I decided to post a story my son wrote for English class, back in February. He had the same assingment as Rachel did, for those who read her post.
Our Life In Papua New Guinea
We came to New Guinea because we wanted to follow God’s will. We were attending a Bible believing church which taught us from, God’s Word, that God’s will should be the most important thing in our lives, and it was. Since we believed that, we were willing to go anywhere for God.
God’s calling for us was to do His work on the island of New Ireland. We were called here to witness to the people, to pray for the people, to give God’s word to the people, to plant churches, to train the Christians, and to encourage the Christians.
There are many people who we met here on New Ireland. First the believers, who were probably the most helpful people we met here. We have met many national pastors, including Pastor James Abel, who has been our biggest help here with everything from language study, to helping us build a church. There are many Christian villagers that attend church here who we have met. A couple have jobs in Namatanai, the small town where we live, but most live just off their gardens. Pastor James Abel, who was mentioned above, is the pastor of a small church in the village of Sohun, where about sixty people attend. There is also a group of Christians in a village called Kudukudu. They were all saved after we started a church there. There are also Christians who live in places with no church. We are very glad to meet these people, and are currently trying to help a group of Christians in a village called Wilo. Finally, there are many unbelievers, who we were called to reach, on this island. We have become good friends with many of these people, and we hope to reach them with God’s Word soon. Among the people we are trying to reach are the store and plantation owners, a few government workers, and, of course, many villagers.
A week on New Ireland is full of many things, including many surprises. Sunday is the most important day of the week, and it is also my favorite day. It’s the most important day because it is the day we go to church in Sohun and Kudukudu. We teach a Sunday school class in Sohun and do two services in Kudukudu. There are usually visitors that come Sunday morning in Kudukudu, so this is an important opportunity to share God’s Word with the people. We have also started a reading class, after services in Kudukudu, for the Christians who can’t read.
The rest of the week is taken up mainly by school and chores. School takes up about five hours of the day for me, and I enjoy it. The Kids’ chores include keeping the yard clean, laundry, cutting and raking the grass, and cleaning the house. The most important part of the day is our devotion time. We all have our own private devotions daily, and every few days we have a family devotion. Shopping, of course, at the market and the little stores in town, takes up part of the week. Plus, once a month we go to a larger town on the island, called Kavieng, for extra supplies. On Wednesday evenings, we go to Sohun for a prayer meeting. I also get a little guitar lesson from Pastor Abel at this time. Friday is a workday in Kudukudu, and we do discipleship on this day as well.
God has enabled us to accomplish many things here. We have helped and strengthened a church; started a church in the village of Kudukudu; and we are attempting to start a church in Wilo.
In conclusion we came here to follow God’s will, and we intend to stay here until he calls us otherwise.
Friday, April 07, 2006
Trip to Kavieng
I apologize for not posting a blog earlier, but there is a good reason. On Monday morning my family and I traveled to Kavieng to get supplies. We usually travel there once a month for a supply run. It is a five hour drive on rough road, but it is incredibly scenic.
The drive to Kavieng was fairly uneventful. However, when we arrived I ended up with two flat tires. This is par for the course. While there, I had to purchase four new tires for my truck. The past several weeks, I have been driving with a different style tire on each wheel, and three different sizes of tires. We were able to get most of the supplies we needed, and thought we would be back quickly to Namatanai.
The country slogan for PNG is “The Land of the Unexpected.” It is a very fitting slogan. The morning we left for Namatanai started off pretty good. It was nice to be driving my truck with four tires that were all identical. My steering wheel was no longer shaking and my truck was no longer wanting to keep veering to the left! About half way to Namatanai, we came upon some really rough parts in the road. All of the sudden, I heard a weird noise from my side of the truck. I quickly stopped to investigate. Daniel, my son, noticed my back tire was rubbing against the fender. As I looked at it, it looked as though my entire rear axle had shifted down and back. When I went to compare on the other side of the truck, it looked just fine. Daniel and I then removed the back tire, and discovered the true problem; the top spring had broken in half! Now if any of the other springs underneath it had broken, not a big deal. But if the top, primary, spring breaks you have a major problem. Thus, I had a major problem. I could not drive my truck. My family is with me, and I am now thinking about how the bamboo bed is going to feel tonight.
By this time, a small crowd had gathered at my truck. I had no idea which village I was currently in. The Lord was watching over us though! Two men informed me that my truck had stopped about 500 meters from a “bush mechanic”! I was able to inch my truck over to him, in less than 3 minutes. To appreciate this, you need to understand that there are not many bush mechanics on the island, and yet my truck broke down right in front of one!
Now, since he was a bush mechanic, he did not have the means to replace my broken spring. He did, however, find some fencing wire lying around, and wired the spring back together. This enabled me to be able to drive my truck temporarily. I was able to head back to Kavieng, in the hopes I could find a replacement spring. The break down also enabled me to make some new contacts in this village, and Daniel was able to give out a lot of gospel tracts.
The Lord blessed and the truck made it back to Kavieng. I headed to the workshop and praise the Lord, they had a second hand spring there that would fit my truck!!! They replaced the spring and I had my truck back Thursday morning. We were back home in Namtanai, by 2:00pm Thursday afternoon.
I am amazed at how the Lord looks after my family and I!
Sunday, April 02, 2006
The First Week
(You will need to read the previous post for this to make sense.)
So, here I was driving 65mph down the road in a 29ft motor home and my son had just cut his thumb almost completely off. I quickly called the pastor of the church in Winnipeg, where I had a meeting scheduled. I told him, I was about an hour from Winnipeg and needed to find a hospital. The closest one was in Winnipeg itself. I followed his directions to the hospital and found it without much problem. However, pulling into this hospital with my motor home was not easy. I manage to pull up to the front of the emergency room door and let my son and wife out.
I now have the problem of trying to park my 29ft motor home. The streets of Winnipeg are not conducive to motor homes. I saw in the hospital parking lot that there are some empty slots were I could parallel park. I pulled into the parking lot and then I had to take a ticket from a machine, which would allow the cross arm to rise. As I drove through, I heard a crunching noise and I cringed. I thought the arm came down on my motor home. I went and parked still not thinking that anything major was wrong. I stepped out of the motor home to go look at the damage. When I saw what happened I felt miserable. The back seam was torn open. I could crawl into my motor home through the hole. There was no way I could drive on a highway like this, let alone sleep in it.
I had just driven through a blizzard, my son cut his thumb almost completely off, and now my motor home had the back end ripped open, which rendered it useless. The first week of deputation was just GREAT!
My oldest daughter just looked at me and could tell by my expression that I was troubled. I had several very important meeting coming up, ten in a two week time period, and it looked as though I was going to have to cancel all of them. While standing looking at the damage, I decided to call my pastor. When I told him what had just happened, he laughed. I was not laughing and failed to see the humor in it. He then said, “Sounds like the Lord is getting you ready for Papua New Guinea!” I agreed and then wondered, if that is true, what would Papua New Guinea be like!
I then walked over to see what damage happened to the arm I had hit. At this time, I was really mad at the hospital, thinking they would be paying for this damage to my motor home. However, as I walked up to the arm, there is no damage to it at all, but the machine that I had taken the ticket from was smashed. The accident was entirely my fault, not the hospitals! My moter home had clipped the ticket machine, when I turned, causing the damage.
I then walked into the hospital to check on my son and tell my wife what had happened. My wife was very encouraging, as she always is in situations like this. I then told a hospital official about the accident in the parking lot. He made some calls and we walked outside to look at the damage to the ticket machine. I told him about my week, and he then looked at the damage my motor home took and he was amazed. He told me not worry about the ticket machine, that the hospital would replace it. I was relieved. The Lord was working.
I went back in to the hospital to check on Daniel. The doctor had looked at his hand and said he needed surgery. He said, the knife cut through the joint capsule and severed his tendon. He then said, they did not have a surgeon who could perform this surgery. He said he would have the hospital call to other hospitals, in the area, to find one that could help us.
Meanwhile, it was now about 9:00pm and the pastor, from the church I was supposed to be at, showed up to check on us. He told me he saw my motor home in the parking lot and noticed the damage. He then told me there is a man in their church that owns a RV body repair shop! I never knew such a place even existed! The Lord was working. Keep in mind too, this church only has about 30 people. It is a mission work itself. Yet, one of their members just happened to own a RV body repair shop! The doctor then comes out and told me they found a hospital that could help us.
We headed over there, arriving about 10:00pm at the hospital. The surgeon just happened to still be there! He should have been home by this time. We talked for a short time and he said, he will do the surgery the next day. He then said, “Wait, I will try and do the surgery now.” He said if could easily find the tendon, the surgery would only take about 20 minutes or so. He said if he can not easily find the tendon, then he would finish the surgery in the morning. (He explained that when a tendon is severed, it springs back like a rubber band, many times making the tendon difficult to find.) We prayed the Lord would give him wisdom and help him to find the tendon quickly. He did, and the surgery was over in 20 minutes. They then put a cast on him and we were out the door. It was around midnight now. The Lord was still working!
That night we slept at the pastor’s house. Early in the morning, we took my motor home to the workshop of the RV repair shop. The men immediately went to work on it. They wasted no time. Within one hour, they had rejoined the seam with sheet metal, and it was ready to go!!!!! The owner did not charge me one penny for the work or materials used!
Not even 12 hours earlier, I was wondering what in the world was going on. Why was God allowing this to happen? I was thinking I would be in Winnipeg for several weeks, awaiting insurance adjusters, trying to find a place to repair my motor home, etc. Now 12 hours later, I was back on the road heading to my next meeting. I never had to cancel one meeting! The Lord worked in a great way, as he did throughout deputation! My pastor was right: The Lord was simply getting me ready for Papua New Guinea.