Aug 30, 2016
August Update (Kendra)
Many greetings from Papua New Guinea! What a blessing to have so many who love us and keep us in heart and prayer. Thank you so much! We do not have a lot of time for communication, but please know you all are never far from our thoughts.
What an abundance of sweet blessings God has poured out since I last wrote. Our dear friend Joyful has served much, pouring herself out in helping us. She has done a lot of laundry (enough to get callouses from all the wringing!), cooking, dishes, and storytelling, plus some sewing, mending, and may other tasks, cheerfully singing as she goes. We all have been so blessed and encouraged. We tearfully bid her goodbye several days ago (now weeks) after three busy months together, and are so grateful for the time God gave us fellowshipping and working together!
The night after she left, Keen told me he needed “Boypol” (his closest rendition of her name) to carry him upstairs. When I reminded him Joyful was on an airplane going back to America, he announced he was going to go get her off the airplane and bring her back.
Our baby is continuing to grow and is becoming quite an acrobat. We all are eagerly anticipating meeting this new little one. I recently overheard Keen and Berean discussing among themselves who is going to hold it when we go to town on the truck. They agreed that they will sit next to each other, and each will hold half- Keen had dibs on the babies head and planned to give it a head scratch. =)
We have been reading through Genesis as a family, and laughingly decided we should call him Gad if the baby is a boy – as Leah did with her fifth son “A troop cometh!”.
I have continued to feel amazingly good, not even feeling more tired than my usual self. God has been so gracious.
The boys are growing and learning, and providing lots of opportunities to seek God for more wisdom. As they are all talking now, we have a lot of arguing in our home. We are seeking God's answers for us.
They also have tons of fun together. I walked out to their fort area to check on them as they played one day, and found all four of them busy drilling their own wells. Keen's well was the shallowest, and it got deeper with each boy- Judah's being the deepest. They all want to be like Daddy. =) Tyler has been starting to drill wells in the community- today he and two of the boys are working on one at our neighbors home. It is dry season, so even with the nice showers we've had, the water holes are drying up, and some people walk for several miles each day just to get drinking water. Some of the water holes they walk to are contaminated, too, so we feel the need for wells is great. It's been such a blessing for Tyler and the boys to do this together. They watch videos on well drilling, buy supplies in town, and work on the wells together, and the boys are learning a lot- along with Tyler!
My dear husband installed a sink with a counter and drain on our porch upstairs, which has been SO nice! A bucket with a spigot to wash hands with, and our water filter bucket with a spigot are both set up over the sink, and we haul several buckets upstairs to keep them filled every morning. Josiah is in charge of keeping the water pumped and hauled for that setup, and does a great job.
Tyler also setup our solar to handle more power usage and bought a small washing machine and freezer for me! Yeah! The washing machine has saved hours already, and makes the clothes so clean! Judah has taken it upon himself to pump and haul the forty five gallons or so of water needed, and to wash a load of laundry every morning! I feel so blessed.
Our garden is growing luxuriously, with lots of kaukau, tapioc, pumpkin, melons, beans, bananas, ginger, greens, and even some tropical lettuce enjoying a rather wet dry season. We have had a lot more rain during this dry season, and have not needed to water the garden as there has been a nice little shower nearly every few days.
The weeds are also enjoying it, and I am continuing to try to find a good solution for mulch.
The village life is busy as usual. There were several weeks of mourning after the death of a middle-aged man in our village, and the “house cry” was held next door to us. We were kept awake many nights by the singing and wailing, and had a very active, full neighborhood with the many friends and family who came over that time.
The day that the house cry was closing up, a close family member of our next door neighbors (who lived in Kimbe) died, which started another several weeks of mourning with a lot of people coming to sit down at our neighbors house. We attended the funeral down the path a little ways. It was a huge event, as the woman was a prominent teacher in Kimbe, and had a lot of friends and family. There were several hundred people, but it was different than every other funeral we've attended, in that there was not a lot of intense weeping and wailing, but a more dignified and organized time.
The day that the house cry was being finished for this woman, I took a walk to the upper end of the village after being called to a birth. I got there too late, and mama and baby were doing great by the time I arrived. I checked them over and left instructions for cord care, then headed farther up the village to check on a little girl who had been sick with a high fever (most likely malaria) for at least a week when her mama brought her for help several days before. When they had come I had prayed over her and given some suggestions on some supportive care, then told her to meet me at the road the next day and I would help her get to town to get checked. When they never came I was concerned, so decided to go check on her. When I arrived, her Mama said that her daughter was just fine after I prayed over her. She said they went home, and the sickness just left! Praise be to God.
Right next door to where I met this woman, a two month old baby girl had died the night before.
Her parents had brought her to our home for help when she was only a few days old, as her cord was bleeding. We had prayed over her and applied some medicine to stop the bleeding, and it had slowed down. They later brought her to the hospital to have it checked, and the medical workers gave her a blood transfusion for the blood she'd lost. Then she seemed fine until she developed a swollen cheek & yellow skin and eyes. Her Mama took her to a clinic not far from here, and there she died.
I was heartbroken when I visited the home of her family and saw the grief of the young mama in losing her firstborn. One of the scenes from the dream God gave me leading us to the Bulus flashed through my mind as I saw her weeping and writhing in the dust. It was identical to a moment in my dream when I saw a mother doing the same thing as she wept for a child she'd lost. Oh, my Lord's heart goes out to these people! May I have His same heart. I looked around at the faces of the many woman gathered by her home, and saw a look of helpless resignation on many faces. It startled me, but as I looked around I started mentally counting how many of these woman had lost children... and many, I knew, had. Many of them whose stories I don't know have probably, too.
I laid my hands on that sweet baby girl's still little body and asked God to breath into her the breath of life again. The weeping and wailing surrounded me as I sat there for quite a while, seeking God's will, as Keen sat beside me watching the drama around us with wide eyes. My wise Father did not give me my request, and I committed her unto Him. As I held her grief-stricken mama, I thought of the hands of God holding that innocent baby, and I felt comforted.
Next, Keen and I headed off to check on another little girl who had been sick, and her mama who had been beaten up by her husband and had come for bandaging. We found the little girl greatly improved, and sitting up eating. The Mama was not doing so great with a tendon in her hand which had been cut swollen badly, so I gave her what help I could. Some neat opportunities have come up to share God's love and power with this sad home. Please pray that a fear of God would fall upon the souls of these dear people! There is so much more joy for a home to have, if they will only come to their Father.
I arrived home after my extended walk to find Joyful keeping our two big boys entertained with stories, as they all diligently worked on laundry at the well (Tyler and Berean were in town).
We have seen God continue to move in bringing healing to several children.
Six weeks or so ago a little girl came with her mom and grandma. She was around 2 and a half years old, and had been unable to walk for several months due to pain in her ankles. She also had quite a few swollen tropical ulcers on other parts of her body. They had taken her to the hospital a while before, and were given antibiotics and a blood test order. They came home without ever going to the lab to get the blood test, and had finished the antibiotics with no results, so they brought her to me. I was concerned she maybe had polio, but as I asked questions, she had none of the other symptoms. Tyler and I laid hands on her and prayed over her, especially renouncing any hold Satan had on her (her grandmother, who brought her, is called on for performing witchcraft to bring healing, and was noticeably uncomfortable as we prayed).) Then I gave them medicine and bandages for the sores, and said we would help them get to the hospital to get the blood tests if they wanted to go.
They never followed through on meeting us to go to the hospital, and I was really concerned for that sweet little girl. We prayed often for her over the next several weeks, but I was unable to check on her as they had gone back to their village (which is on the tip of our peninsula, and inaccessible except by boat).
Recently I met the mothers sister, who lives in our village, and I asked her about that little girl. She said that she got better after they brought her here, and that her sores are gone, and she has no more pain in her ankles and is running around playing! She said I must have good medicine, to which I replied that I had no medicine for her severe joint problem, and all I had done was to ask God to touch her, and He had! Oh, our hearts were full to bursting!
Another day a little boy of around one and a half was brought with severe burns over his whole back and on his sides. Hot water had accidentally spilled on him, and his skin was blistered, and some of it was coming off in sheets.
I was very concerned for him with such a huge area covered in such severe burns, so gave them the little bit of herbal burn cream I had, gave specific directions for care, and prayed over him. Over the next few days I tried to help them get to the hospital, but it never worked out (a combination of the village taxi truck being unavailable and lack of motivation on their part). As the medicine ran out I mixed raw honey and burn herbs together, and gave them that as it was all I had. We kept praying for him and he healed up rapidly and very well! Our God heals.
Several times in the last few weeks children in our neighborhood have come down with cerebral malaria. One day I saw a grandmother carrying a little boy of about six or seven up our path. His Mama followed along. He was unconscious and showed signs of cerebral malaria, so I quickly gave him what help I could as I prayed fervently for him. The next day we helped them get on the truck to the clinic several hours from here. It took several days for him to wake up, but we are so thankful, he is now doing well, praise God!
Yesterday a friend of ours came up the path with his little two year old in his arms. He had his whole head wrapped tightly, and blood was all over his little body. We carefully unwrapped the blood soaked rags to find a three – four inch long, deep gash along his forehead. He had fallen out of a tree while climbing with a pair of scissors.... We cleaned it and butterfly bandaged it closed. The parents were so sweet and concerned. I'm so glad it didn’t hit his eye. It's kind of scary being the local emergency room. I started praying as soon as I saw them coming up the path, as it looked like he had cerebral malaria from a distance. I feel very out of my comfort zone, and am very glad for the medical training I've had- but it's way too little for some of the stuff around here, and I am so glad I am a servant of the Great Physician!
We (Joyful and I), also had the privilege of delivering two more babies this month.
One night I was awakened by our neighbors voice calling me from outside my window. She said her daughter-in-law was in labor (who had been hauling large loads of water that very afternoon). So Joyful and I grabbed our stuff and headed over. It was a short, easy delivery, with a big healthy baby boy who was born faster than I've ever seen. He breathed fast and nursed well, so we had an easy job. We gave the mama some food and headed home to sleep the rest of the night.
The next delivery was quite a walk from our house. The young mother to be had gone to stay in town to await her baby's delivery, but after several days her husband came to retrieve her, so we were called. She had a slow, long labor, so we walked back home to do some housework and cooking with instructions to call us when things progressed. A few hours later some girls came to get us, and we sped back up there, while Tyler held down the fort. The young mother was walking with two of her her friends to support her, and was not quite ready, so we sat down to visit with the family and friends gathered. We also prepared a bed in the kitchen house by laying a few layers of clean banana leaves on the surface of a rough hewn platform. The kitchen house was three sided, so the woman hung up a few curtains to give a little privacy from the twenty or so people milling about. As we waited for the little fellow Joyful and I had some fun cultural experiences. The people in that part of the village use mostly their native language, so we couldn’t follow most of what they were talking about, although we could surmise they were talking and laughing about us sometimes! As the time drew closer for the baby to be born, about seven of us ladies crowded into the kitchen house with the mama. The baby was in a funny position and wasn’t coming very fast, so I recommended a different position for the mother. At that the other ladies got concerned that something was wrong, and shortly the girls mother brought in a handful of white pulverized shell powder- which the people here mix with the buai that they chew. She put it behind the girls back, then circled it around her twice. Joyful and I realized too late that they were working witchcraft on her. The next time they brought it in to perform the incantations (which are whispered), I stopped them, and said if I was calling on Jesus to help, and they were calling on the devil, my God might not hear me- I said we have to just call on one or the other, and I'm calling on Jesus. They agreed to that, and threw out the powder. Joyful and I called on the Lord, and soon the baby boy made his appearance with a nice healthy cry. We praised Him together for delivering the lives of these two precious souls
For the last few weeks, we have woken up quite a few times to loud noises on our property, such as branches breaking. One night I heard someone walking around right outside the house, and another night some neighbors came to check on us because our dog was barking, and saw a man running off. Tyler and I both had times when we would wake up suddenly with a gripping fear. We talked to our Christian neighbors about it, and they were quite sure someone is trying to work witchcraft on us. What a blessing to know greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world. We are praying against the powers of darkness and pressing into our Lord. We are encouraged to PRAISE God with our whole hearts and watch Him fight the battles for us.
One of the commonly used substances here for working witchcraft is ginger. When people come asking for it, we must ask specific questions before giving it to them, because many times they've wanted it to work their witchcraft. We try to take those opportunities to teach a better way. (update: We have ripped out all our ginger and are praying about whether or not we should have any. We no longer give any out.) Recently a little girl was brought by and old woman for malaria. I gave her some suggestions for treatment, then I prayed over her, and as I began praying, the old woman seemed to be shoved backwards away from me. I was so startled I paused and looked at her, and then remembered she is one of the holders of the secret incantations, and I was facing a real spiritual battle. A few days later I heard from some of my little friends that this girl was still sick and they were preparing to do witchcraft to get rid of the evil spirit making her sick. I sped over there and called earnestly upon God to deliver her, rebuking the devil. The next day she was fine. Later on that week her mama brought her to our little church meeting, and said thank you for helping her little girl.
We feel earnestly our need of more faith in this battle. The battle belongs to the Lord, may we be faithful channels.
The bible study and church meetings have been going well. We are praying for an increased hunger in the souls. One man in particular seems to be very close to the kingdom. Please keep him in prayer. He is weighing the cost of following the Lamb.
May the Lord grant you and us more and more of His sweet Spirit!