Friday, September 29, 2006

Pastor John Norris

My phone has been out AGAIN! That of course is nothing new, but it has prevented me from posting.
This past week I had an answer to prayer that thrilled me. I was saved at the age of 12 at the First Baptist Church of North Ridgeville, Ohio. The pastor who led me to the Lord was John Norris. I have not seen or heard from him since 1983/1984. While on deputation I desired to find him. I wanted to let him know that a 12 year old boy he led to the Lord was now a preacher. I wanted to thank him for his faithfulness and sharing the gospel with me. I know he would not even know who I was if I found him, but none the less, I had a strong desire to make contact with him.

I contacted people who were members of the church when he was pastor there. I asked them if they knew where he was. A few people gave me some leads, but none panned out. One person told me he was in south Florida, so I called all the John Norris’s in south Florida. There were plenty to call, but none of them turned out to be him. After that, I simply quit trying to find him. I was too busy with deputation and preparing for the field.

Last month during one of my prayer times, I began thinking about him again. I prayed and asked the Lord to allow me to find him. Then last Saturday (Friday U.S.) I received the following email:

Dear Brother Terry,
I was doing some research on my message over the internet when I came across your blog and website with all the pictures. It looks like you are doing a great work in Papua New Guinea.

I noticed in your testimony that you trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior in 1982 in a Baptist Church in North Ridgeville, Ohio. And then in one of your blogs, you stated that the pastor was John Norris. If that was First Baptist Church of North Ridgeville, on Sugar Ridge Road, then I was that pastor. I am currently the pastor of Riverside Baptist Church in Decatur, Illinois. You can visit our church website at

May the Lord continue to use you and bless your work and your family.
Pastor John Norris

As I read the email, my heart filled with joy. The Lord had heard and answered my prayer! I was amazed at how he just “happened” to find my blog. This was all of the Lord’s providence! I emailed him back and told him how I had been praying the Lord will allow me to find him. I did not even know he was still a pastor. It had been over 20 years since I last talked with him.

It still amazes me how the Lord answers our prayers. Think about it: The God of the universe hears our prayers and delights to answer them! Amen!

Pastor John, if you read this, I just want to say thank you again!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Interesting Week

Sorry it has been a few days, for those who are still around reading! We have had phone, power, and water problems. Praise the Lord we had rain yesterday, so our tanks now have some water. We do need more water though, so pray it will continue to rain.

Power and phone problems are relatively minor compared to water problems. When you have to go to a river for your water, it affects every aspect of your life. You even have to lug a bucket of water for the toilet. It can get pretty hectic when you have phone, power, and water problems all at the SAME time. I am just a spoiled American!

I have one generator broken down awaiting parts. I have been awaiting parts for it for one year now. I do have a backup though, and that generator broke down last week. However, I managed to rig it, so it is working now. The breaker fried!

Answered prayer:
Of the 50 to 60 people attending regularly only about 8 youth come. I have witnesses to all of them, and they hear the preaching each week. However, none of them have trusted Christ for salvation. Well, Sunday that changed, when a teenage girl made a profession of faith after the service! I talked with her for sometime and she was ready. Hopefully/prayfully this is the first of many. The youth here, as in many places, have many temptations. Immorality is common, expected and rampant among the youth as well as the adults in the villages.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Who is First in Your Life?

Colossians1:17,18 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

(Mat 6:33) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Who is first in your life? How do we determine the answer to this question? Most Christians would say God is first in their life, but is He?

Is He first in my life because I am a missionary or pastor? No! One’s position in life does not determine who is first in their life. Who is first is determined by more than priorities, as well. Now, of course, if one’s priorities are not correct, the Lord is not first. However, just because one’s priorities are correct does not mean God is first. For the Lord to be first, he must be preeminent in all areas of your life! He must be what you are seeking! My priorities can be in order and yet I am seeking things for self. Thus, God is not first.

Either self is first, or God is first in our life. This is subject to change on a daily basis, so to properly answer the question as to who is first; one must answer it daily or moment by moment. Christ can be first in your life today, but not tomorrow. It is a matter of who you allow to control your life. The Apostle Paul said, “I die daily.”

As we study the Word of God we learn of God and his attributes. We learn of His holiness, love, mercy, longsuffering, power, justice, etc… It is here the Lord gives us knowledge too see the wisdom of letting God be first/preeminent in all areas of our life. We learn He is able to manage our life better than us. He knows what is going to happen tomorrow. We see He is able to provide for all our needs; physical, spiritual, and emotional. To actually let God be first takes faith. It is not blind faith, because we have the Bible, and creation. Why faith? Because without faith it is impossible to please God. So God has chosen the avenue of faith for our benefit. You see, through faith we have the opportunity to please God. We do not please God by our righteousness. We do not please God by works. Some think they please God by inflicting pain on themselves, i.e. opus dei of the Catholic Church. We please God by faith. By trusting in Him and acting upon His Word as a result. Faith will produce actions. (James 2)

For the Lord to be first, we must learn of Him in His Word, and trust him on a daily basis, living by the principals of God’s Word regardless of circumstances.

Great Biblical examples of men who allowed God to be first: (notice how God used and changed their lives)
Joseph – From slave/prisoner to Prime Minister
Joshua – From slave to general/leader of the people of God
Daniel – From slave to Prime Minster through two world empires.
Elisha – From farmer to one of the greatest prophets of God
Paul – From religious hypocrite to Apostle of Jesus Christ
Peter – From fisherman to Apostle
Your Name – From ? to ?

How can the Lord use and change your life if you allow Him to be first/preeminent?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Five Miles

For each service, Sunday and Wednesday, everyone walks to church, except for my family. No one in the church has a vehicle. Keep in mind, this village is in the bush. Most walk about 1 mile. However, one family has been walking quite a long distance to church. The family is from the village of Belai, and has now attended four services.

Saturdays I usually spend in the village, visiting. This past Saturday, I traveled to visit with this man from Belai. While driving there, I took notice of how far he lived from the church. It was farther then I thought it was. It was just about 5 miles, 4.6 miles to be exact. This man, his wife, and their five children were walking almost 5 miles, one way, to church!

When I arrived at his hut/house, he was thrilled to have me there. My son Daniel was with me, as always, and he sat down on their bamboo bench. I sat down on the ground with the family. Two neighbor ladies also came and sat down with us.

I must admit, even though I have been here now almost three years, it is almost surreal making some of these visits. Here I am, sitting down next to a bamboo hut with a grass roof, on a tiny little island in the South Pacific Ocean giving the gospel out! What a privilege! Pigs are running around, parrots flying overhead, no modern civilization is anywhere close.

Anyhow, I began to make conversation with the man and his family. His name is Stephen and his wife’s name is Limakum. I told him that I would make arrangements to pick him up for church at the end of Kudukudu. This way, he would only be walking about 2 miles. Now, my primary purpose of the visit was the gospel. He and his wife had now heard me preach several times from their visits to church. I knew the Word was sown in their hearts. I asked if he had any questions about what he had heard at church. He told me he had just one question. Stephen then said this thing about eternal life/heaven bothered him. He went on to say, he did not know what would happen to him when he would die. He wanted my help with this!!! Up to this point, I had not mentioned anything about the gospel, or asked him any questions regarding salvation. The Lord had been giving the increase already in his heart and his wife’s heart.

I then preached to them the gospel. They listened intently. I explained to them sin and the penalty for it. They both admitted, at that point, if they died they would go to Hell. Then we talked about Jesus Christ and why he came to this earth. When I explained II Corinthians 5:21 to them, you could almost see the Holy Spirit turn the lights on for them. They understood why Jesus had died on Calvary. They knew He took all of their “nogut pasin” sin, and made available to them His “stretpela pasin” righteousness. Both then told me they wanted to repent and put their faith in Christ, and a few seconds later they both did! Amen!
We rejoiced together at their decisions to receive Jesus Christ. The neighbor ladies also listened intently, but did not trust Christ as Savior. Hopefully, they will allow me to come back and talk with them more.

As I was preparing to leave, Stephen told me that I do not need to come to the edge of Kudukudu to pick him and his family up for church. He said they would continue to walk. I told him I did not mind. He said, “No, I will be there waiting when you arrive at church. He said, “We really want to come. You do not need to come get us!” Sure enough, as I pulled into the church grounds today Stephen and his family were already there. They walked the five miles. One of the men told me they had been at the church for quite some time, waiting for things to begin!!!

Stephen’s dedication, which led to his salvation, puts many Americans to shame. Most Christians are so caught up with the things of the world, that any excuse not to come to church will be used. Many, I do not believe, would walk a half mile to church. If the church can not make arrangements, then they simply will not come. How sad! We lack the knowledge of what life is all about! Life is about God and serving/loving Him. If we have to make some sacrifice in our service for God, it is a greater opportunity, not a greater burden! When sacrifices are made out of a love for God, this is a privilege!