Sep 17, 2018
Click here for a Slideshow by Laura Erickson
Greetings to all,
Thank you to all who have been praying for us. We have certainly witnessed the Lord’s care for us during our transition to the USA – and we are still very needy for His help. We have now been in the states for almost two months. We are staying with the Niblers right now in Winston, Oregon. It has been a blessing to reconnect with brothers and sisters in this area.
Our last weeks in PNG were amazing! Packed with intensity and emotion and God’s Spirit moving. We were privileged to see several souls repent and trust Jesus! The church in Bulu is “taking off” so to speak. We are blessed to see that this work is not dependent upon us being there. This is God’s work. I remember one believer saying: “Tyler is leaving us but Jesus is not!” I am blessed to see that they are in connection with the Head of the body and I know that He is able to bring them into the fullness of life in Himself. Please continue to hold this young congregation up in prayer.
I have posted a report of Laura Erickson’s trip (BELOW) which helps to fill in the details of what was happening right as we were leaving Bulu. Also there is a link to a slideshow that she put together of her trip. The slideshow will help you get familiar with what it is like over there.
Though we cannot be with them physically at this time, we have a sober sense of obligation to continue to minister to this group of God’s children while we are living in America. They need prayer, encouragement, teaching, and financial support. I have a Po box set up in PNG and Peter (the pastor to the church) holds the key. We are planning to send them materials (Bibles, books, letters, photos, teachings, etc.) that would encourage them and enable them to grow in their relationship with Christ. Also we plan to send regular financial support. If anyone is interested in being a part of this ministry to them, feel free to communicate with us about how you can be involved. Also, as the Lord leads, I will be taking a follow up trip over there sometime next year.
Meanwhile, we are still looking for a place to settle. We are hoping to settle on the coast near Scott and Annie Schones. We sense that this next season will be getting resituated as a family after our last months of intensity - Just to get back into family routine and resting will be healthy for us. Please pray for us as we make decisions about all these details.
The Following is a Testimony From Laura Erickson’s Trip:
Praise the Lord, I am now safely home with a report of God's goodness and faithfulness to share. I'm sure the Schones will have more to add, but on behalf of them and with the events still fresh in my mind and heart, I have written an update for the benefit of all of you who have been praying for us.
"My Word Shall Accomplish." As I think over the amazing weekend in the kingdom of God that we recently experienced, this promise from Isaiah 55 comes to mind. God has been accomplishing some beautiful purposes among the Bulu, and I am so blessed to be able to witness to them, "that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together." (John 4:36)
Last Friday, July 27, we all returned to the village (officially known as Kintakiu) where Tyler and Kendra's family have labored among the Bulu over the past 4 years. This was to be our final good-bye weekend, and by God's grace, Kendra (who had been feeling quite sick the day before) was well enough to go.
Tyler and Scott had spend several days earlier in the week at the village in a time of outreach, and meeting with those who had shown an interest in baptism. From what they related, it seemed that several women were soberly considering the call to forsake all to trust in Jesus and live fully for Him. Scott shared on the commitment being similar to marriage - choosing Jesus and forsaking all others. He had left them with the challenge to seek God and examine whether they were holding anything back, letting God's faithful Spirit determine the specifics. A couple others were desiring to renew their commitment to the Lord and have a time of confession with a special foot washing service.
So we took our winding bumpy drive out to the tip of the peninsula on Friday afternoon with anticipation of blessings ahead. Much of our morning had been spent in Kimbe (about 45 minutes from Hoskins, where we have been staying) with our last-minute shopping, including purchasing some rice and sausage for the planned farewell feast on Saturday, and loading the roof rack with metal roofing sheets for the "place boeng" (meeting place) being built. We were blessed with an uneventful drive in the private and relatively comfortable accommodations of the Schones' car, which they say is a huge improvement over the PMVs (Public Motor Vehicles) which was their main transport until earlier this year when the car was given them.
By three in the afternoon we arrived at the jungle clearing with the red metal-sided house on stilts that the Schones had built. We unloaded and Kendra gathered a few baskets of personal belongings to take over to the neighbors. Soon we were trekking the short distance to Helen and Gabe's house. With a hand-crank sewing machine in one hand and a loaded basket on my head, I followed a string of little tow-heads with similar blessings to share. After our distribution to several thatch-roofed cooking huts, where a slight nod and quiet greeting acknowledged us, we settled down at Tuka's place to visit. Tuka, a young mother with three children, was working on a mumu (baking in hot rocks) of taro for tomorrow's feast. She had a 4-foot square fire covered with 6-8" rocks to heat while she milked coconut and chatted with Kendra in Tok Pisin. Nearby the children played tag and rolled a metal spool back and forth, and then cracked galip nuts to munch on. Next door the neighbor girl also had a fire going and was preparing banana leaves to mumu tapioc, and soon I was watching the process and sketching a couple little girls who were shyly hanging about. When we headed to the ocean for the children to wash up before dark, Kendra had been told to send over all the food we had bought for the feast so the ladies could prepare it for us. What a blessing!
Saturday dawned with a couple events that foreshadowed the momentous day ahead. In the silence of her prayer time, Kendra asked God for a birthday blessing for her brother Caleb: the salvation of a man named Dickson who had been in the valley of decision and much prayed over for quite some time. And in the neighbor's yard, the stillness of the morning was broken by a squealing pig - a valuable resource to the Bulu, saved for special occasions like funerals and weddings, was now being butchered in honor of the good-bye feast.
The morning was filled with last household distribution treks to the neighborhood. It was quite the fun to tote chairs and water jugs, storage containers and a giant wash tub to the designated people Kendra had in mind. The usual quiet of the local community was alive with a new focus and diligence as feast preparations were underway. We stopped by Gabe's place to watch the pig prepared to be cooked, the erection of a giant tent shelter, and the building of benches and tables. Helen's kitchen house was overflowing with helpers and onlookers, and the yard milled with children. With the anticipation of a busy afternoon, we took a quiet spell back at the Schones' house and enjoyed the gift of fried rice for a quick lunch.
By 1:45 we were all gathering for the pre-baptism meeting. More than 150 people sat about in Gabe's wide clearing - women and children mainly under the tent, with the men on benches and under trees. Peter, the brother that was baptized during our first visit to the village, began by stating that this is a gathering of believers, not the forming of any denomination or following of Tyler. This is a ground-breaking statement for this tribe already segregated by several groups with loyal followers. Praise the Lord for the vision he has put in Peter's heart for the people of God to be united in Jesus alone! Tyler went on to share an exhortation on the meaning of baptism, and then several shared their testimonies.
Tuka spoke of how she was sick last year and the doctors found nothing wrong and finally planned to put her with the terminally ill patients with no hope. She called out to God and experienced full healing and realized how much He cared for her. Since the Schones returned last fall, she has been earnestly seeking after God and two weeks ago shared with Kendra (the beautiful birthday gift that Kendra had secretly asked God for) about her desire to live fully for the Lord and be baptized. This past week she had been asking God if there was anything in the way, and the night before she had been given a beautiful dream of confirmation. In the dream, Tuka's relative, who has often mocked her faith, was going out "turtling" with the children, and looking back to shore saw Tuka's house radiant with light. This encouraged her greatly as a witness of what God was doing in her life.
Two other women shared their commitment to Christ as well, and then we all headed to the beach, a hundred yards off. As songs were raised to testify to their commitment, Tyler and Kendra baptized the three women: Annie, Tuka, and Agnes. A man named Pondi then shared his testimony and was baptized by Tyler and Peter. Meanwhile we were witnessing the answer to Kendra's early-morning prayer. With emotion, Kendra nodded toward Dickson, who was standing with Scott with a new resolve in his eyes. "God is answering my prayers!" she whispered to me in excitement.
Later we heard about the conversation that the two men had been having. Dickson: God has been talking to my heart and saying 'You need to give your heart to me before they leave.' Scott: If we don't respond to the Lord our heart can be hardened. Do you know what a callous is? Dickson pointed to a callous on his hand and when Scott touched it, he acknowledged: I can't feel it.
Dickson had once had a walk with God as a youth, but let bitterness turn him to a life of sin and many regrets. For the past several years he has been soberly weighing out the cost of living for God, but did not want to make a profession without going all the way. So, with tears of joy at seeing a soul yielding to his Redeemer's love, we witnessed Dickson's testimony, that he was counting the cost and choosing life in Jesus above anything else. Scott and Tyler accompanied him into the ocean waters as the song, "There is none that can touch my heart like You, Lord," was sung with conviction and praise.
Later we heard an amazing testimony of God's witness to this man's conversion. One of the brothers singing, closed his eyes in prayer that God would send a sign like in the day of Pentecost to convince the onlookers that this was God's work. As Dickson was immersed in the water, several unbelievers saw a "balus" (bird or dove) flying over him and dip down. "It is the power of God!" one particular man, who had been opposed to the Schones, told Dickson with tears of emotion. "You will be next!" Dickson replied.
And indeed, there is a wonderful evidence of God softening many hearts. Tuka's husband, Ballu, has been earnestly attending the meetings for several months and is almost persuaded. And, later in the evening, we heard hints of another hardened heart opening to God's mighty transforming love. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
First we had the grand good-bye feast. Three long wooden counters, built under a large tree, were loaded with pots and wrapped banana leaves, testifying to the cooks presenting their best for the occasion. Gabe offered a prayer of thanksgiving and then had everyone form a line to be served. It was quite a sight to see so many eager caramel-faced children, holding metal plates, pot lids, and plastic containers, crammed in one long line. We were personally served heaping plates of rice, meat, and tapioc mumu as we sat under the tent shelter on a tarp. We waved off flies as we ate heartily - the freshly caught fish and fried rice were favorites. Kendra assured us that whatever we couldn't eat would be greatly appreciated by the crowds of children. And it was true, nothing leftover was wasted and soon happily full people were visiting around.
We soon headed back to the Schones' house, where a few friends stopped in for personal visits, including Dickson and his family. When they all left, we headed upstairs. We were all worn out and ready for an early bedtime, but couldn't resist spending this last evening together in the bush, sitting around in the Schone's cozy family room and reviewing the miracles of the day! "Elsie even asked me for a Bible," Kendra said in an awed tone. "She has been so hard and cynical, but something is softening in her."
Sunday morning Kendra was up early sweeping the cement floor of the meeting area under the house. We were expecting a gathering of believers for an early morning foot washing and communion service within the hour. Chairs and benches were set around and a mat spread out for the children. One by one, now familiar faces began arriving - Peter Loco, David and Lena, Agnes and her son Meli, several women with a few children, even tall, composed Elsie. Praise the Lord! Gabe and Helen, Pondi, Peter and Annie, Antone, and at last, Dickson. His home was a couple miles up the jungle trails, but he had made it! Soon Tuka had joined us as well, and Tyler opened the service in prayer. Scott shared about our walk with God from 1 John 1, and spoke on how foot washing can be a symbolism of receiving Christ's cleansing from the dirt we pick up walking through this world - as we confess, He is faithful to forgive. Both Antone and David shared their desire to forsake all hindrances in their walk with God and live for Him fully. Tyler and Scott took turns washing their feet in a metal basin with a bar of soap, while the rest of us sang. It was a precious and solemn service.
This was followed by Tyler sharing about the symbolism of the bread and juice we were partaking of in communion. We had previously discussed if other elements more typical to the Bulu culture should be used, but it was decided that we should use some bread and red juice that was brought from town. Everyone was encouraged to examine their own hearts for whether we should partake, and one by one we went up to the table to tear off a piece of bread and take one of the plastic cups Scott had filled. After singing and prayer, we partook together and it was a sweet and beautiful time, as our hearts and voices united in the song, "I am the Bread the Life" and several others on our Savior suffering and dying for us.
I am the Bread of Life
He who comes to Me shall not hunger
He who believes in Me shall not thirst
No man can come to Me
Except the Father draw him
And I will raise him up
And I will raise him up
And I will raise him up
On the last day!
It was now 9 o'clock and there was to be a general church service at Peter's house. I and several others opted to go by foot. We followed Meli on trails through the insect-humming jungle and past houses along the coast, and up through gardens of bananas and tangled vines, until we arrived in less than twenty minutes at Peter's "back door." Many had already gathered in the spacious room under his house. Peter's wife, Annie, offered me a seat beside her on a bench, and soon we were singing as more gathered in. There were over 60 Bulu by the time the rest of the Schones showed up - twice the amount that had attended the meeting two weeks previous.
We continued in songs of worship for awhile, and then Tyler shared a message on Jesus, Our Good Shepherd. Though he spoke in Tok Pisin, I could follow fairly well with the Bible references given, and was blessed as the vision of God's care and gathering in of His scattered and lost sheep was presented. This was followed by how Jesus called Peter, in John 21, to feed His sheep, and Peter's own exhortations to the one who "feeds the flock of God" in 1 Peter 5. The work of God among the Bulu is God's special work, but He has raised up faithful shepherds to care for and feed the sheep. Tyler took this time to acknowledge how it was evident to him and Scott that God had raised up Peter to shepherd the flock of believers among the Bulu. But that he wasn't appointing Peter to replace him in ministry, because it wasn't Tyler's church, but God's.
A time of exhortation and testimony followed which was greatly blessed as many agreed to the witness and recognized how Peter's life of serving his community won their trust, and saw his faithfulness to the Lord. Elsie then notably testified how the Lord had won her heart, especially as she saw the evidence of God working in the lives of others, and how she had found salvation and joy in Jesus. There was a spontaneous clapping as the gathered believers rejoiced together at this wonderful transformation! Dickson's testimony, too, was full of great joy in what he was experiencing in Jesus. Both Elsie and Dickson are natural leaders in the community and we are looking forward to seeing how God will work through them. After a time where the men laid hands on Peter and prayed for him, the Schones sang a farewell song to the little congregation dear to their hearts.
The next couple hours were spent eating a lunch back at the Schones' house, which was now to be Gabe and Helen's, and packing up to go. The Bulu neighbors and friends began gathering in the yard - some sitting under the trees or closer to visit under the house. "Aunty Lena" washed out our lunch dishes and relayed a special greeting to Joyful from Elsie (who she remembered from her stay with the Schones two years before). At last the car was loaded and Gabe offered a fervent prayer for our safety and travels. Then came the final good-byes - handshakes all around, but now punctuated by the emotions of many overflowing eyes and hearts. Booboo (Grandma) Mary's voice rose in loud sobs as she clung to Kendra for some time, and Salem, being quite overwhelmed by all the goings-on, added his wails. Finally we must all climb in the car, along with Peter as final escort, and start our long drive back to Hoskins. A sea of over eighty brown faces and a multitude of waving arms was our last glimpse between the palm trees of this beloved people. Though now out of sight, they are forever etched in our hearts and we look forward to seeing many in eternity, if not before. Praise God for His wonderful work among the children of men!
Our travels home were punctuated by a flat tire - our first car trouble of the whole trip, which testifies to God's keeping power and preservation of vehicle and passengers over quite treacherous roads. The Lord's care and mercy was shown to us in several ways. It was a quarter to seven and dark, but Peter directed us to limp along to the next driveway, where he knew a policeman lived. The men jacked up the car and put on the spare, only to find that it was too low on air to carry us anywhere. At the policeman's suggestion we pulled into his drive while Tyler called friends from town, Elvis and his wife, who had given them the car. Gabe, back in the village, also heard about our predicament, and soon help was on its way.
While we waited in the insect-humming stillness of the jungle night, we admired the stars through the leafy canopy above, found a jungle rope (several twining vines) to swing on by cell phone light, and glowing fireflies and luminescent mushrooms to marvel over. It was quite a nature field trip! Around 8 PM two vehicles pulled up - Emmanuel's PMV truck from the village, heading into town with a crowd of passengers, stopped first. Tyler called the Kimbe Guest House (operated by Elvis) to see about us taking a ride in to have supper and wait there while the men worked on the repair. As arrangements were being made, someone got out of the truck and started cracking galip nuts in the glow of the headlights for the Schones children to enjoy. Just then a driver came from town in a government (think "comfortable") car, sent by a friend of Gabe to pick us up. What a thoughtful gift! Soon we were being expertly driven down the pot-hole pitted road the last 40 minutes into town, cold air blasting and everyone anticipating some good food at the Schone's familiar retreat spot. Around midnight Tyler and Peter joined us with a new tire on the car, and sleepy, clean and fed we were all home to Hoskins at last. Though the night was shortened, it was an adventure we won't soon forget!
By 8:30 the next morning, Scott, Hosanna and I were flying above the green jungle-covered mountains of Papua New Guinea. As I got my last glimpses of the peninsula shores where we had spent a momentous weekend, I was blessed to now personally know this remote tribe that God cares so much about. I have come home with many precious memories and new friends to keep in my heart and prayers.
Click here for a Slideshow by Laura Erickson
Jul 8, 2018
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.
Jun 23, 2018
Praise to our father who continually cares for and blesses our lives. We are rejoicing in him and his provision. About six days ago Kendra felt a need to confess some things to the family that were on her heart. That was a blessing. Then after that I anointed her with oil in the name of the Lord Jesus and we all prayed for her to be healed according to the scriptures in the book of James. God is so good and desirous to heal and he did and continues to. Kendra felt amazingly better the next day. She has been struggling for a long time now with heart pain, weakness, etc. and all of a sudden ALL GONE! This lasted for four days and then day before yesterday she over-did-it and she felt weakness. After more prayer and rest she is feeling much better. She has been able to be up doing things around the house. Thank you to those who have been praying for us in this time. Please continue to help us in prayer.
I have only been able to go out to the village two times in the last 3 ½ weeks or so. I have taken quick trips out there and back to deal with things, leaving Kendra back at our rented house. I see the Lord at work in the believers in the village and they are rising up in a good way to commit and follow Christ. It has been a blessing and an encouragement to see the Lord work among them and it is confirming the fact that the church raised up in Bulu is God’s and that they have all that they need to flourish and thrive. They do not need anyone or anything else!
We are returning to the USA July 31st. We are planning to settle in somewhere for a season and seek the Lord about His next steps for us. We do not know where we are going to settle at this point. Please pray with us as we trust God in this.
July 10th we have a few comrades coming to help us with our last 3 weeks in PNG. Scott Schones, Hosanna Schones, and Laura Erickson. We are privileged that the Lord is sending us such a troop as this in such a time as this. We are counting down the days for their arrival and are anticipating the Lord to do great things. Please pray for them as they prepare and also that all that the Lord wants to be done in the time of their visit will be done.
We are very thankful for the family of God. We have been blessed by so many of you in many many ways. Thank you. The Lord knows who you are and he will richly repay you.
Much love in Christ,
Jun 1, 2018
My flesh and my heart fails, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Ps 73:26, WEB)
Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me. (Phil 2:30, KJV)
We are preparing to return to the USA in about 2 months time from now. On the surface Kendra is run down from our high-stress rigorous living/ministry situation here in Papua New Guinea and we are not fit to continue in this setting right now. At this point she is recovering from a recent bout with malaria and also dealing with some heart problems that have developed. I have been reminded of the story of Epaphroditus (scripture quoted above). Deeper than the surface is the mind of God, His sovereignty, His will that has been foreknown from eternity past. We are learning to rejoice in His operation and how He does His work and how He chooses to station us and use us. He has had us pouring out everything (physically, spiritually, and emotionally) over the past years while we have lived among the Bulu tribe reaching them with the light of Christ. Now He is giving peace for us to rest and await His leading on the next steps.
Jesus once said: “I will build My church”. He has been doing that ever since and He has been doing that in Bulu. It did not start with us and it does not end with us. We are rejoicing in the opportunity that we have had thus far to be a tool in His hand in His building project here on the island. But we sense that this is going to be a major shift for us as we return to the USA. We are not sure exactly what that means but as we return and recover we trust that the will of the Lord will be made plain to us. We feel that we still have a place in the Bulu work but do not think that we will be moving back to live amongst them in the same way that we have been doing. The Lord knows.
We were thinking that we may be here another 2 years or so and that then the Lord may move us out but with the recent situation being that we are not able to minister here at this time, we are sensing that the Lord is allowing it and that He is in it all. He knows what He is doing. It has been a great lesson in faith to trust the Lord with the care and future of the little spark of life that has sprung up here.
I anticipate the next 2 months to be quite active and challenging. We have rented a house about 3.5 hrs from our village near the airport. Kendra will be staying there most of the time while she regains strength for travelling. I am planning to be back and forth to the village to pack, sort through things, minister to people, and possibly finish some projects that we have been planning. My brother Scott and his daughter Hosanna and Laura Erickson are preparing to come next month to help us.
Major prayer Needs:
- Wisdom to know what the Lord has for us to do practically.
o Possibility of finishing a well drilling project and building a chapel for the church.
o What to do with our things and our house (we can easily cause offenses and jealousies if
we are not careful).
- Strength for Kendra and the whole family.
- I need grace as I will be shouldering the brunt of things.
- Wisdom in communication and transition with the people (they will naturally take things hard).
- Doors to open and wisdom and grace to settle back into USA culture (especially with Kendra in a weaker condition right now).
- Also we sense that the devil is not happy and he still has plans to interfere with the work here in these next 2 months.