Jul 8, 2018

July Update (with some catch up from May and June)

The Lord is so good. He shows His goodness in so many ways. We are rejoicing in His mercy in healing me a couple weeks ago. After six weeks or so on the couch with weird heart issues and no energy, I was starting to feel like I would always be sick. As I sought the Lord about it, He brought to my mind two things in my heart He was not pleased with. I confessed them to Tyler and the boys and we had a sweet time of praying together, and Tyler anointed me with oil and prayed over me. The NEXT DAY I was able to start running our home again! I overdid it a few days later and needed to rest again for a day or two, but only because my body was weak after so long on the couch – the heart pain and palpitations are totally gone, and I have energy again. I am so grateful for strength to school my boys, cook, clean, read to the boys, and all the other duties of a wife and mama. My Heavenly Father is such a good Daddy.

We are doing well in our preparations to move back to the U.S. We have packed nearly all our bags, and the next big project is to go out to the village to give away all the things we aren’t bringing back to the U.S. Please pray for wisdom as we want it to be a blessing to people, and do not want to cause unnecessary offenses.

Following is an old update from April and May, but we never shared it as I got sick in May and with the move out to Hoskins, recovery, and the busyness of packing it fell by the wayside. But its got some neat testimonies I’d like you all to hear.... better late than never!

May has been busy as usual. Our big project of the month was tearing down our old cook-house and building a carport with a tool shed. The pull down, smash, whack, and rip apart day was enthusiastically joined in by all the boys and four or five friends. The kids got a bonfire going and did a great job keeping it stoked. At one point a mouse ran out of hiding and was chased around the house by our very wild boys and equally excited neighbour kids. Judah was the winner, bringing an end to it with a broom handle. 

 The carport turned out really nice. It was a fun project because the boys were able to help Tyler a lot. Tyler hired a few of our friends too, and they did a great job. I think their favourite part was learning to use his battery operated tools. Some great moments!

It’s canoe making season around here, and many of our friends and neighbours have been very busy felling trees, digging out and carving, building bamboo stabilizers, and taking turns helping each other carry the finished products down to the beach. One morning about fifteen of the guys got together and carried three huge, heavy, newly finished dugouts down to our beach. Gabby, Peter, David, Ballu, Bob, Wesley, and many other men now have sturdy, well built canoes lined up down at the beach. Such a work of art!

Peter and Tyler have recently started a chapel meeting up at the school every Tuesday morning, then in the afternoon they are visiting different people who have expressed an interest in talking about the Lord (having a car is opening new and exciting opportunities!). One Tuesday I woke up with a real burden to pray for God to open up a door for them to spend time with an older man who lives several miles from here, and is part of the Bihai religion. He and Tyler have had several good talks over the last few years, and he had asked Tyler to come talk with him more. That afternoon when Tyler and Peter went to meet with a different man they had previously arranged to meet, he was unavailable. They ended up driving to Reserve land and were able to spend several hours talking with the Bihai man. He seems very open. We have a real burden for him, and also his two young  adult sons, who seem to have a spiritual hunger like their father.

The Sunday school has also been going well. We had some problems with older boys disturbing things, so we adjusted it to eleven or twelve and under, as the older ones can easily sit in with the adults, and it is working much better. The little ones love to learn English songs with hand motions, and have about ten tucked under their belts. They are so cute and earnest singing together with their eyes glued on me as they try to imitate my every move. I’ve enjoyed them a lot. Sometimes we hear them belting out one of the songs as they play down at the beach or work out in the garden. These people know how to sing! It’s beautiful. One of the little girls (about 9 years old) who has come very faithfully, is the daughter of a man who has often stolen from us. The Lord has given us ideas for ways to bless their family which has been really neat. This little girl has a heart after God. She is so faithful to come, and hangs on every word. Every few weeks I teach the kids a new memory verse. A couple months ago it was Matthew 5:44 “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” This little lady, with her big expressive eyes, almost dropped her mouth open-staring at me with a look of awe as I taught the kids that verse. I could tell that she could hardly believe what she was hearing. May the Lord raise her up as a prayer warrior for her people!

Judah’s long awaited desire came to pass this month as Tyler and the three older boys got to go  nighttime spear diving with a group of our neighbour guys. They had so much fun and came back with about sixty fish for the freezer. Tyler and Judah experienced the pain of poisonous somethings with long quills that stick in with barbs on the end, and are really hard to get out. The boys have been full of stories from that experience. Judah got to try out his new spear gun he recently made, Berean kept busy swimming behind Ballu and bringing all the fish he speared back to the canoe. The boys and Tyler are in awe of the deep diving capabilities of these guys who swim like fish from the time they are little fellows! They can hold their breath for minutes at a time, and as they are very muscular with little fat, they are good at sinking deep down and finding the big fish. One of the guys here is nicknamed “bottle gas”, as he can stay under the water so long it seems impossible without an oxygen tank! Several of the men have damaged hearing from the water pressure in the deep areas they fish. Our neighbour Ballu is quite the turtle hunter, and frequently comes over with gifts of turtle meat or intestine (Keens favourite part). One morning I was up early and had gone outside for something, only to see a neighbour lady walking up the path that runs by our house up to the main road, with a large upside down turtle balanced expertly on her head. Probably going to sell it at the market.

Every other week the oil palm compound about five miles from us has payday for all their workers. One Friday we decided to drive over and check out the big market they hold on that day (kind of like a farmer’s market). We enjoyed looking around at the fresh greens, homemade donuts, young coconuts, smoked fish, handmade woven bags, and other snacks and drinks. We bought snacks for the boys, then hopped back in the car and took along a friend who needed a ride back to the village. On the way back, as it started getting dark, we came upon several big rocks in the road. Tyler had Judah hop out to roll them off, then we continued on our way, laughing about the kids who must’ve been playing around putting stones in the road. We found out a few days later that it was actually a hold up attempt and that there were men hiding in the trees nearby as we stopped, but they decided not to do anything to us. And we sent Judah out there to move the stones! We are grateful for our Fathers mercy. He has kept His hand upon us. The angel of the Lord encamps all about them that fear Him, and delivers them!

It has been such a blessing to have a car. We have taken several day outings the last few weeks to a beach several miles from our house. Tyler and the big boys have had a great time spear fishing.  I’ve really enjoyed hanging out on the shady beach with the little guys who play in the shallow area finding shells and starfish.

One Sunday afternoon an older man came asking for our help to get his adult son into the hospital. Tyler brought the young man into Kimbe with what we thought to be appendicitis. The next day it was confirmed, and he had an emergency surgery. We were so grateful for the ability to help!

There have been three more deaths this month, just in our part of the village. One was a young mother about my age. She had three young children that she was very proud of. She and her husband had travelled to a different part of PNG, and she died of a miscarriage. The people say that the reason she died was because her husband was unfaithful to her, and she had lost the will to live. Her sister (who was in an affair with her husband) delivered a baby the day of her funeral. What a sad way to live and die.

Another was a young man from the upper part of our village who was involved in a hold up and was mortally injured when the police caught him.

The most recent death was a young man in his twenties. He was known as the long-long (crazy) man in our village, as years ago he had damaged his mind by taking drugs, and he hasn’t been able to think straight since. The last few months he has struggled a lot physically, but the doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with him. The people say he’s been poisoned or cursed. His Dad (who is one of the truck drivers, and has a good relationship with Tyler) asked if Peter and Tyler could come pray for his son, as he was sick again. They went late that night, and found him very uncomfortable, having a hard time breathing. Tyler spoke to him about his soul, trying to speak clearly and simply, and praying God would open his mind to understand. He encouraged him to call out to Jesus. He also shared with the family. We do not know what went on in his heart, but several days later we heard he had died.

One of the Christian men here shared with Tyler that his teenage son is possessed by a cannibalistic spirit. Weird and creepy things happen. The families here bury their loved ones right next to their house. One of the reasons they have given me is so that they can carefully guard the body. There is a lot of fear. Our friend’s ten year old son was really worried after the young mother died this month, as he had a bad relationship with her, and was afraid of her spirit coming to bother him. There is such freedom in knowing Jesus! What a great light He gives, a sweet freedom, and deep security and peace.

The beginning of May, three of the boys were very miserable for ten days or so with ulcers all over the inside of their mouths, making it almost impossible to eat. They lost a lot of weight, but eventually got over it. Quite a few of the older people in the village also had it.                                                                      

The middle of May, I got sick for several days with some sort of stomach issue. The second night of my illness, Keen came down with a high fever. The next morning as we were resting together in the living room and Tyler and the boys were downstairs doing chores, he suddenly went into convulsions (another mercy from our Father in that he could have had the convulsions in the middle of the night when we were asleep, or when I was downstairs, but God allowed me to be sick and in the same room!). His eyes moving back and forth rapidly, arms and legs twitching, and completely unresponsive to my voice. I told Judah to run and get Tyler, who came quickly. We began praying fervently over him and rebuking the devil. His heart was racing and he began to turn grey/blue. Judah ran to our neighbour Gaby’s house to  see if he could help us give Keen an injection of Artemether, as it seemed to be malaria. I dug around in our medical bin and finally found some injections Tyler had bought in case of such an emergency. Tyler was holding Keen, singing to him and telling him all about Jesus, as Gaby and I prepared the injection. Within ten minutes of the shot, he was able to breathe better. Within ½ hour or so he could respond to questions with yes or no, was breathing fine, and the seizure seemed to have stopped, although he still wasn’t talking. We quickly packed a bag and headed into  Kimbe to get him checked out. On the way in, Tyler and I were praying against the possibility of brain damage. About halfway into town, I heard one of the sweetest things I’ve ever heard “I want a drink, Mama.” Praise the Lord, my heart leaped with joy!

The doctor checked him out and said he seemed to be fine. He gave instructions for keeping his fever down to try to prevent another convulsion and said to come back the next day. We went to Manaia guesthouse, and the two little guys and I rested while the others went into town for a few groceries. In spite of Tylenol every four hours, his fever started spiking again that late afternoon. I gave several doses of Tylenol in a row, and a cold shower, but he was still over 104. I couldn’t get a hold of Tyler and Keen was starting to act weird and have muscle twitches. When Tyler got back he took over with Keen while I fed all the boys some dinner. That night, still unable to get his fever down (he was sleeping but quite restless), we anointed him with oil and prayed together over him, asking God to spare him for the purpose he was created for. Within an hour or so, his fever went down a lot, and he fell into a deep sleep for the next six hours of the night. The next morning while Tyler was out of the room getting breakfast for the rest of the boys, Keen piped up.

“Mama, I had a dream God came to me and healed me.”  “Oh really? What did He look like?” I asked. “All shiny” He said. “Did he say anything to you?” I wondered curiously.  “Um, yah, He said, “I have healed you.””

From that point, he rapidly gained strength and our problem was trying to get him to rest a bit! We are so thankful for God’s gracious hand in our lives. He cares about each person, and is intimately acquainted with all of our ways.