Nov 1, 2016
Your mercies are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness, Oh Lord!
These months have been full, busy, challenging, rewarding, humbling, stretching, and growing!
What a sweet Shepherd we have. He is so kind to continue to shape us and mold us more into His image, to purge out that which does not glorify Him. It is a painful process, but Oh Lord, help us to be soft lumps of clay! Help us to receive the conviction and chastening, and to be yielded and still in the Hands that are always working out of deep and eternal Love.
Many things have been stirring in our hearts and home.
One of the deep desires Tyler and I have is to keep the hearts of our children in the midst of all the busyness of the ministry here. Recently the Lord has again been refocusing our vision for our home. We feel keenly our need of His help in shepherding our rather rambunctious flock! We set aside one week at the beginning of the month to spend time working together as a family on home projects, and didn't go hardly anywhere except to swim together at the ocean. We set aside early evenings together to read Pilgrims Progress, play games, and wrestle (at least everyone but me!).
The fruit of that week has been much more peace in the boys. Since then we have been making it a priority to end our work a little earlier in the day so we can have a little more time together in the evenings before bed. It's been a blessing, and we thank God for helping us to see the need for it.
BEREAN AND A BABY
Also, we are feeling stirred to seek more faith in the ministry to the Bulu people. We are reminded by the still small voice of our Father to not neglect to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. The last thing we want is to be busy serving in different needs here, only to realize we've been building with wood, hay, stubble. The important thing, the one needful thing, is to stay close to Jesus, to seek Him with all our hearts, and to only walk in the works that He leads us into, that He has prepared for us to walk in. With all the many desperate, pressing needs surrounding us, it is easy to take the burden of many things not meant for our shoulders, which we do not have grace to walk in.
The beginning of September was rather tumultuous with a few different fights at the middle/high-school down the path a mile or so. The kids from the neighboring Bulu village attend there along with the teenagers from our village and there is tension between that village and this one. No one was seriously injured, though there were some machete cuts.
Our friend Peter who is the government appointed representative for the Bulu people, was very busy trying to make peace and sort through the problems for a while. It is challenging for him to know how to deal with the situation, because there is enmity between not only between the kids, but their parents.
He and Tyler were able to pray together and seek the Lord for His answers to the problems.
Shortly after this, a big group of Seventh Day Adventists came in and camped out for a week down by the school. There were several Doctors and nurses, and they held free medical and dental clinics.
Our part of the village was pretty quiet that week as a lot of people were spending time down there.
Another big event was a huge bride price ceremony for one of the leaders in the village. This kept everyone quite busy for weeks leading up to it, as most of the families of the village had to try to make a big chunk of money to contribute for the ceremony.
For a week or so many of the villagers were awake at night beating drums and performing different parts of the ceremony.
The man who was fulfilling his duty to pay the bride price (for his wife of twenty plus years), is a Christian, and we felt deeply concerned by some of the ceremonies him and his family took part in. Many of the customs surrounding such events are intertwined with spirit worship, and are not fitting for a Christian. Tyler had many conversations discussing this with different people during those weeks. The Christians will often agree it is not the best thing to do, but they often feel trapped by the family and tribal expectations. We discern this is a danger for the souls of those who want to be followers of Jesus, and are praying earnestly for boldness and fervent love to Christ for the many who are caught in this web. The church meetings at our house were sparsely attended during this time, as everyone was too busy preparing for the custom.
Tyler was able to install the first community well near one of our neighbors homes. The first pumping was a very special event. It is such a blessing to see people able to fill their buckets and water containers with clean, cold water. Tyler is close to completing the second well now, a little further down the path. There were many memorable moments as he and our neighbor guys hand drilled these wells. The difficult thing for me was trying to keep the boys on task for morning chores and school when they so desperately wanted to be with Daddy! In the afternoons, as soon as they were released from “prison”, they would often run off to join him in his work. They are learning a lot about well drilling and installation right along with Tyler, which is so neat! Tyler is on a big learning curve and is doing a great job of researching the different problems he runs into, and problem solving. He has also been learning to weld as a result of needing different parts for the well drilling. God is giving him wisdom as he seeks to be a blessing.
The two older boys decided to try their hands at dugout canoe making, and with some help from neighbors, they each have a cute mini canoe. This was a fun experience, and Judah has now moved onto making a full size canoe, as his is a bit small for him.
One of the activities that Tyler and the two older boys have been doing a lot more of is spear fishing at the reef. They have a great time together, and come back with some cool looking reef fish.
The two little guys and I hang out to swim by the shore, which they love. They are both getting pretty good in the water, and Keen often holds his breath and goes under. The kids here are often amazing swimmers by the time they are only three or four as they spend so much time in the ocean.
There were several births this month that I was involved in.
One day a grandmother came to get me to help her daughter-in-law who was in labor. I grabbed some supplies and headed down the trail, but by the time I and several neighbor ladies arrived, the people with me announced the baby must've been born already. When I asked how they could tell, they said “They're running the dogs”. I watched as a group of mangy, skinny dogs tried to go under the house of the woman who had given birth, only to be run off by several girls.
The grandmother said the baby was already born and the mother was down at the ocean washing up.
I carefully climbed the rickety ladder into the hut. It was empty except for a naked baby girl lying in the middle of the floor, with the placenta still attached. As I walked across the floor, the rough cut boards shifted as I walked (they weren't nailed), causing the tiny baby to get bumped around. I picked her up gently, cleaned her up and cut her cord. She was not breathing very well, so I cleaned her airway and wrapped her up as she was cold.
One of the woman and her grandma gave her a bath, then when her mama was changed and sitting down in the house cook (with about twenty others who were there for the excitement), we got her to nurse. I sat with them visiting for awhile, then headed to the beach to join all my boys who were swimming and spearfishing. As I walked, I felt so humbled. I have always been so cherished and well cared for.
At our boys births there has always been someone to take care of me and the baby. To whom much has been given, much will be required! Help me to be a willing servant, Oh Lord! You have given me so much!
One evening several weeks later as our family was sitting down together reading Pilgrims Progress, we heard someone calling for us outside. Tyler went out to check it out, but the group of several teenage girls insisted they needed to talk to me. When I came out they said a friend of theirs had pain. Which is the polite way of saying someone is in labor (I've learned this through trial and error). I ran upstairs, grabbed my bag, kissed the boys and we all prayed together, then headed off with the girls.
The young mother was in labor with her third child, and the labor seemed to be progressing well. I set up my birth supplies on a bed/table made out of thick branches under a tree. I had her lie down on our make-shift birthing table and used my stethoscope to check for the baby's heartbeat so I could figure out it's position. But I could hear nothing- no heartbeat, no placental noise, nothing. It was completely quiet. I thought maybe the baby was lying with it's back to her back, as I could not find its back- which I thought might make it hard to find a heartbeat- especially as all i had was a stethoscope.
The labor continued for several hours and the aunties and grandma who were there to support her and I all sat chatting about various things. It was a beautiful, quiet night. I got out my birth book and taught the ladies a few things. One of the middle aged woman – a widow- has been with me at nearly all the births I've attended here, and she has a heart for the mothers. She is the one they usually call. So she is very eager to learn. I don't know a whole lot myself, but more than anyone here, as they haven't had the opportunities I have.
Finally the baby started to come, but it was being born face first, which is a very difficult position, and it got stuck. No matter how hard she pushed, it wouldn't budge. I was praying out loud for wisdom. The baby's face had an odd coloring and I felt it was imperative it was born soon, but my book doesn't talk about how to help birth babies in this position. It just says get them to the hospital. Which doesn't help me much being 3 hours away from the hospital, and the village truck wasn't even leaving for another nine hours- twelve hours from help.
As I prayed, I remembered when I was a young teenager, a midwife telling me a story of a baby who was stuck. I was able to apply what she had done and rotate her just a little bit, and she was born quickly. But as I looked at her limp little body, I knew something was terribly wrong. I checked for a heartbeat, and there was none. Her cord was lifeless and disintegrating. I realized it wasn't just my lack of experience and inadequate equipment that had kept me from hearing the heartbeat during labor. This baby had been dead for a while. I gently wrapped the baby girl in a towel. I felt really shocked. I was relieved that I hadn't had anything to do with her death, but felt really sad and shocked.
The reaction of the mother, aunties, and grandmother, was really eye-opening. There were no tears. They seemed to have the attitude- “Oh, this one isn't going to live...”- not in a careless way, but in a resigned way, as if they were almost used to stillborn babies. Later I asked the woman who often attends births here if stillbirths are common. She said “Yeah, plenty of babies are born dead- and plenty die soon after they are born, too.” As I held the baby and we sat there taking it all in, It started to rain- so we all headed for the smoky little palm roofed kitchen house. A big pig was asleep for the night in one corner with puppies snuggled up to her right next to a bed that someone sleeps on, and the rain dripped through the roof (so the ladies carefully arranged the best chair under a part of the roof that didn't leak for me to sit on), but we sat and talked as the mother washed up and had a bit of food at the house nearby. The ladies sat discussing why the baby had died. They said it was because the mother carried too heavy of buckets of water (It bends the baby too much), or maybe because she yells at her kids and gets mad a lot (that will kill a baby, they say), or maybe because she smokes (which almost everyone does, here- sometimes marijuana, sometimes other drugs, along with chewing betel-nut). Plenty of unmerciful opinions. I was glad the mother wasn't sitting with us- but I'm sure she'll hear them, too.
Later I went and checked on her in the house as she lay down to sleep with her four year old (her husband was in a neighboring village). I talked with her and prayed for her and tried to comfort her, but she seemed like a stone. Maybe her emotions are too deep, and I am a foreigner. Oh but my heart cried for her. After checking on her, I headed carefully down the precarious ladder.
Several of the ladies escorted me home on the dark paths through the rain. They stopped at a house to borrow an umbrella so I wouldn't get wet, but assured me they were just fine when I tried to share.
After I got home I took a shower, and tried to wash off the memory of a lifeless little body in my arms. I woke Tyler up and poured out the story to him, and he sweetly listened, and prayed with me.
I am so grateful for God' wisdom, and I need more of it. He has been so faithful to help me through each challenge.
I have been struggling a lot with exhaustion these last few months of pregnancy, and often feel like I can't possibly make it through another day with the many demands. This experience gave me a new perspective, and I am gratefully cherishing each movement of our precious little one.
The same day that this baby was born, some of the men from our village and the neighboring Bulu village held up (at gunpoint) a boat full of men and women. They had parked at a small Island a few miles from our village on their way to town.
The Bulu men stole what they had and violently abused the women before releasing them to continue their journey by boat.
It is unclear who all was involved as so far no one is talking much. The whole Island tribe of those who were mistreated by our people are up in arms, and threatened to kill any Bulus that they saw in town. Several of our neighbors' teenage children were in town at this point, and our neighbors called them with strict instructions to stay hidden at the house of their relatives and not to hang out in town.
Their has been much fear here in our village, not knowing what sort of backlash to expect.
There is a spirit of tribal violence that remains unbroken in the spiritual world here. It may look different than it did 50 years ago, but it is the same spirit. We pray God would heal this land of the spirit of murder and revenge.
One of the sweet blessings that the Lord gave us during this season was when a mother of five brought her sick baby to our home. She has brought this beautiful baby girl several times in the last few months for different ailments. I told her I had no medicine that would help her, but I could pray to Jesus for His help. She immediately assented, and said “When you put your hands on her, she always gets healed.” I said that was not because of me, but because of God's spirit of healing coming upon her baby. She agreed, and said we should remember to thank God. I was so encouraged to see her faith as we prayed together over the little one.
Another encouragement the last few months is two boys of around twelve and fourteen (from two different families). They both seem to have an earnest heart for the Lord, and we have had some neat times with them. One of them comes over often just to hang out with us, and the other, who is from a part of the village further away, often comes to our fellowship meetings, and eagerly drinks in everything. We pray that God would raise them up to be mighty leaders of truth and righteousness for their people.
It's been a blessing for our boys to have some boys around with a desire for what is good and right.
We have been earnestly seeking God's will for where to have the birth of our new little one (due the 18th of December). We've pursued different options, but after much prayer, have decided to come back to the U.S. for this next season of having a new little one join our family, and for a time of refreshment and ministry among our dear family and friends.
We are all very excited and looking forward to this time. The boys have been preparing Keen to go to “Big town”. All Keen knows is the town of Kimbe which is reached after many bumpy hours on a large flatbed truck full of people. So Judah has told him we will pay our bus fare to the boss crew of an airplane, fly through the air, and land in “Big Town” America.
I saw Keen's favorite little weed-wacker toy out in the garden yesterday, and he seriously informed me that he had thrown it out there 'cause we're going to America. He apparently felt that it was unneeded!
We are very much looking forward to good fellowship and seeing all our dear ones, cold weather (snow!), hamburgers, pizza, salad, and Mexican food!
When we first started talking more seriously (several weeks ago) about coming, I told Tyler it would take a large miracle for the doors to open financially, and for us to be able to do what we needed to here before leaving. Tyler responded we've been living in a miracle for a while now, seeing God meet all our needs! As we've committed this trip unto God, we have seen many miracles, and we stand in awe of our Father.
We recently had to renew our work permit here, and as a result all our passports are on the mainland of PNG. Please join us in prayer that they will be returned to us in time for our planned departure on November 18th, as we must leave the country no later because of my advanced stage of pregnancy. We plan to return to PNG in September 2017.
We would also appreciate prayer for our boys as they readjust to life in America.
May the Lord be glorified!
P.S. Please pray for Kendra because she is having some health trouble with the pregnancy and we need to get a medical clearance before we are able to fly.
Aug 30, 2016
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!
Jul 6, 2016
Greetings to all our dearly beloved!
Because of Jesus we are still living on the little Island of New Britian in PNG amongst the Bulu people.
He never gives up on souls- including ours, and He won't let us give up on these people whom He loves
I want to recount to you some of the sorrows, joys, and bits of life from the last few months.
The middle of May we were blessed to have Tyler's brother Scott with his little boy Reed, and our dear
friend Burton come to visit for a few weeks. Traveling with them came our friend Joyful, who is still
here, and will be here till the middle of August.
What a sweet blessing! To have fellow soldiers to war with, brothers and sisters to share, pray, sing and
serve with has been such an encouragement to our hearts. We feel so grateful to our Father, and in awe
of His perfect timing. During our weeks with the guys, Joyful and I were kept quite busy keeping
everyone fed and clothed. Tyler, Scott, and Burton had a wonderful time walking around the village
talking and sharing with many souls. Under our house was full quite a few nights for the times of
preaching and singing.
We were all blessed to see the Lord stirring some hungry hearts to seek for their Creator.
We also had quite a few opportunities to serve the community with medical emergencies.
I have clarified to the community that I am not a doctor or a nurse, but as medical help is far away, and
hard to get, they keep coming to us for help.
One of our close neighbors cut his leg quite deeply, and was losing a lot of blood. Several of us spent
some hours with him and his family, working to get the bleeding under control. This particular man has
been near death on a number of occasions because of fights he's been involved in, and has some
physical disabilities from cut tendons and muscles as a result.
He came to one of the meetings at our home, & shared later that the words that were spoken “sutim bel
bilong mi” or, cut straight to his heart. He and his wife expressed a desire to live better. Pray that they
may respond to the Spirit's wooing, and seek after God with their whole hearts.
After his bleeding was under control, Tyler, Scott, and Burton headed off for a time of sharing house to
house. Before they arrived back that night, several boys showed up, asking for help for a woman in
labor with her twelfth child. I sent the little messengers off to find Tyler and bring him back to take care
of the boys, then Joyful and I packed what we would need for the birth.
As soon as the guys got back, we headed off to the birth.
It was a beautiful, calm and moonlit night as we walked the jungle paths to the family’s home.
Arriving around 7pm, we set up as best we could and tried to prepare our hearts and minds for a birth
far from human help. The mother had been in labor for many hours, and was getting exhausted. Joyful
and I prayed over her and settled in to watch, wait, and relieve her in whatever way we could.
She had given birth to all her babies quickly and unassisted, and had lost a little girl when she fell out
on her head, damaging the little neck severely.
My heart yearned over the little one within her, asking God to help us be part of bringing life to this
dear little soul.
The labor stretched on into the night, with the mama growing more and more exhausted, and no
apparent progress. We, along with the woman, her husband, and several neighbor ladies sat under the
house with a smoky little fire, waiting and sometimes dozing.
I felt led to pray against any evil powers that were present, and later found out that one of the woman
who spent the night sitting with us for the labor is one of the village “witch doctors”. I had no idea, but
God did! He is so good.
At some point during the night, Joyful and I sat down to pray together and led those present in calling
on the Lord for deliverance, and the Lord brought to mind a position I could put the mother in to help
the baby change positions if it was not properly aligned. I had the mother get into this awkward
position and we supported her for an agonizing hour as we prayed the Lord would help the baby move.
With relief the mother finally laid down again to rest.
I told the friends and family gathered around that if the baby was not born by 5 am, we would need to
help her get on the local public transport flatbed truck which leaves early to go to the hospital in town
(a very bone-jarring three to four hours from the village).
Around 4 am Joyful and I lay down to rest, and Joyful prayed that the Lord would cause the baby to be
born before 5 am in order to spare the poor exhausted mother from such a long painful journey.
Around four thirty a friend woke me up, saying the mama was ready to deliver.
I grabbed my gloves and caught the big baby boy outside as the mama squatted in the dirt. He was very
stressed after such a long hard labor, and we had a hard time getting him to breath, but after a few
minutes of praying and working on him, he took a lungful of air and announced his presence.
Several hours later when Mama and baby were doing well resting (under the house on a rough mat on
the dirt), Joyful and I headed home to wash and sleep. Our hearts were filled with praise to God for His
great deliverance. When we got back to the house we found out that Burton had a dream during the
night in which he felt that we should put the woman in the same position that I had put her in. In his
dream he felt the baby would be able to be born if I put her in that position. What confirmation of the
Later the family brought a stalk of bananas and some turtle meat to show their thankfulness.
What a blessing to be able to be part of their home for such a time.
Some of the various other medical needs we've been called to help with have been machete cuts, a
broken arm, several people with pneumonia, some stomach problems, colds, mumps, polio, food
poisoning & malaria, amongst others.
One little baby was very ill with what seemed to be pneumonia. She had been sick for about a week
and was progressively getting worse, so the family brought her by boat from the farthest village, and
they were planning on taking her to the doctor in Kimbe the next day. But because she was so ill, and
they wouldn’t be able to bring her in to town till the next day, her mama brought her to our place. I was
very concerned for her as she was unable to stay awake, but seemed to be really out of it, and was
having a very hard time getting enough oxygen.
Joyful kept our home and boys cared for as I spent several hours trying to get her taken care of.
I did what I felt was helpful for her body and prayed. I called Tyler (who was in town), and we all
prayed over her little life, rebuking the devil who we know wants to destroy. Late that afternoon the
family brought her back home, with instructions to come get me if she seemed to get worse. The next
day I figured they brought her to town. But two days later I saw a woman who lives close to the
Grandma of the baby, and asked her how she was. She said she went home after visiting us, slept that
night, and was fine the next day. I knew God had touched her with how sick she was when we saw her.
Isn’t He so good?
Later a papa brought his little girl who was sick with what appeared to be a malaria fever. He brought
her down to our house where we recommended papaya tea and citrus to help her body fight off the
malaria, and to take her to a clinic to get tested and treated. Before they left we laid hands on her and
prayed over her, and Tyler felt led to rebuke the sickness in the name of Jesus.
Several hours later Joyful and I were walking up the trail to try to help a man who had a badly cut
hand. Escorting us were about 20 little fellows who wanted to see the excitement. On our way we
passed this same little girl (balancing a pot of food on her head) with her mama, walking down the trail.
We asked how she was feeling, and they assured us she felt just fine. Her mama explained that after
they got back from visiting us, she had come back home and told her mom that we had prayed to Jesus,
and she was better. Praise the Lord! As we stood by the side of the trail talking to them, I noticed
several mothers with their little ones sitting by a house near the trail. All of them had brought sick
children to our home during the last week, so I checked on them to see how they were doing. All the
Mothers said that soon after coming to our home, the little ones had recovered. They all told me I was a
great nurse, and I answered, “Mi no wanpela nurse, tasol Bikpela, em i gutpela Docta!” - I'm not a
nurse, but God is a good Doctor!
Joyful and I had full hearts as we walked away. We had done the little we could do to help the body, but
in several cases I had been quite concerned about their symptoms and had recommended they get
medical help as soon as they could. But we had prayed over each of them, and God had abundantly
answered. One of the blessings of the many sick who come, is that we have lots of opportunities to lay
our hands on these little ones and bless them, and pray that they would be seekers and lovers of God.
May the next generation be fervent in spirit, bringing glory to their Creator.
While Scott & Burton were visiting, many of our neighbors brought food to help host them. The guys
and Joyful got to try a wide variety of various items of our diet here such as shark, turtle (including
intestines), clams, oysters, snake, roasted grub worms, sea cucumber, and lots of fish.
We recently bought beef in town, and Keen asked for seconds “Mi laik moa trosel (turtle)!”.
One day the boys and I were reading the story of a girl raised in South America. She had informed her
mother one day that she had eaten rat soup for breakfast at the neighbors. The boys were all making
comments about how gross that sounded, until Keen piped up “Mi bai kai kai that!” (I'll eat that
We continue to have snake problems- Tyler recently killed the eighth large constrictor in our chicken
pen. This one killed four chickens before they started squacking and woke us up. We are starting to
wonder if there is such a thing as a snake proof chicken coop, and if it will work to raise our own eggs.
They are just like the devil- they wrap the chickens so slowly that they don't always wake up to realize
what's happening before it's too late. They also love the dark and flee from the light.
One night Tyler and Berean headed out to the outhouse before bed, and found a fat snake in our toilet.
Poor Berean is too nervous to go out by himself now, and I must admit to checking the area thoroughly
Joyful has been very brave in all her new jungle experiences such as riding the truck, killing a
cockroach that was crawling on her face as she slept, cooking our food over the fire, etc! She has
developed nice callouses from wringing out clothes too. What a blessing she's been. We've had such
fun fellowshipping and working side by side. We have caught up on all the mending, planted more
garden, organized and cleaned long neglected corners, and she has often taken over so I can rest or
write. What a blessing. I feel so refreshed, and much less overwhelmed. Often when people come for
help she has kept our home running and the boys going so that I can help them without everything
We are continually thankful for the Lord's help and protection in our lives. He is so good. We had
another hold-up on the truck we normally take to town. Tyler was led to go to town on Friday, so he
did. The next day, the truck was held up by about twenty men as they drove through the neighboring
tribal area on the way into town and our friend the drivers arm was broken in the struggle. There was a
lot of money stolen from the passengers also. I am grateful that the Lord again protected us from
another hold up. We would appreciate prayer for the situation, as it seems the violence between the two
tribes has increased in the last few months. The police escorted the Bulu truck through Bola territory
for a while, and are attempting to catch the men who held up the truck this time.
The bible study, and church service held every week at our house has continued to be a blessing.
Sometimes we have a lot of people, sometimes a few, but the Lord seems to be working in several
hearts. One couple who come quite often have a teenage son that they are concerned for. He is starting
to mess with a lot of sin, and is rebellious. They asked for prayer at the meeting several weeks ago,
after leaving him grounded at their house for the morning. We all prayed together earnestly for him.
That afternoon they headed back home, only to find he had left the house, and his brothers didn’t know
where he had gone.
They sat down and prayed that the Lord would visit him with some hard things in his life, in order that
he may know the power of God, and turn to him. Late that afternoon several teenagers came to get
them with urgency , saying that their son was unconscious and having some sort of a seizure. He was
unresponsive, but jerking around violently, and no one could hold him down. Both his parents were
completely at peace, and praised the Lord for working so quickly and powerfully.
His mother stayed home to pray, and his dad went to find his son. When he got to the house where his
son lay, he found people really worried, and some were working witchcraft on him. His Papa was not
happy about that and laid his hands on his son, and prayed over him. Soon after, his son was calm, and
slept peacefully- all that night, all the next day, and all the next night. When he woke up the next
morning, he got ready and headed off to school. Later in the day his Mama sat down with him to talk.
He already knew the Christians had prayed for him and then this happened to him within hours- that
whole part of the community knew, as some of the kids had spread the news that we all had prayed
Sunday morning for him, and that afternoon he had this strange experience. So he was sober. His Mom
told him “Bikpela i no pilai” (God is not messing around), and that His power was real. She gently
exhorted him to change his ways and seek the Lord. He listened meekly. She and her husband are
greatly encouraged, and a great fear of God fell on many people through this situation.We all are
rejoicing in God, and would appreciate prayer for this young man, that he may seek the Lord with his
While Scott and Burton were here, there was one man in particular who came under deep conviction
for his sin during the preaching. He was a seeker of God in his youth, but has wandered far from God,
and has walked in much sin and left many broken hearts in his wake. Ever since we came here we have
had a special burden for this man- who is about Tyler's age. Also, everyone who has come to visit us
has had a special love and burden upon them for him, without us even expressing our heart and prayers
for him. So we feel God has his hand upon him. He has had some deep soul searching conversations
with Tyler, Scott, and Burton, and has seemed so close to repentance. Please pray that whatever is
holding him back would be broken, and he would surrender completely to Jesus.
We feel a deep battle for his soul is being waged, and the pull is strong.
The brevity of life is so real and stark here. There has been yet another death in the village, of a middle
aged man from health problems. He was not a seeker of God that we know of. Tyler, Judah, and Josiah
were on the truck going to town when they heard the news. The truck stopped at the clinic a few miles
from the house and picked up the man's body to bring it to the morgue in town. Many wailing relatives
came along, and Tyler said that it was a very sobering ride.
The next few weeks were full of weeping and wailing as all the relatives came to mourn at our next
door neighbors house. Several nights in a row they stayed up all night wailing and screaming, and some
singing. Some cry while other groups sit nearby singing beautiful four part harmony and playing guitar.
We are sobered by the many lost souls yet surrounding us. May we labor while it is yet day.
Sometime during the last month Tyler and I were each feeling under attack spiritually. We talked and
prayed before drifting off to sleep. During the night Tyler dreamed a very dark dream. But in the dream
he fought the darkness by kneeling down and singing a song loudly, and all the darkness left. When he
woke up he remembered the song and taught it to us for our morning prayer time. I was so encouraged
by the reminder that we are in a spiritual battle. The devil doesn’t want us here, and we must fight with
praise, as God led the Israelites to do, as Paul and Peter and Silas did, and as so many Christians after
them have. Our victory lies in praising God with our whole hearts and trusting in the Arms that are
Everlasting and will never fail us. Let us stand back and see the salvation of the Lord our God.
May 18, 2016
We have been tremendously blessed and refreshed with the coming of our two brothers Scott Schones and Burton Salthouse, our sister Joyful Witt, and Reed (Scott's son). The Lord has used their visit to encourage us and to more effectively share the gospel amongst the Bulu people. Scott, Burton, and Reed are planning to stay till June 1st and Joyful will be here for about 3 months (Lord willing).
The Lord answered prayer in their trip and helped them through all the customs free of duty costs even though they carried a lot of items that usually would require duty fees. Also the Lord opened the door for Joyful to come into the country even though her visa/airline reservations were not properly arranged and she was told by an official that she would be denied entrance to the country. We are rejoicing that the Lord opened the way for them and has allowed them to come to fulfill the work that He has for them in this season. We are praying that the will of the Lord would be done in their visit.
Kendra and I have been refreshed to have other laborers in prayer and ministry here. Kendra has just been having a harder time with all the work load being about 9 weeks along and then the Lord sent Joyful – what a joy! We have had several good opportunities to share the gospel with others recently. Last night we were pretty packed out under our house while Scott preached and I interpreted. We are earnestly praying for the word to take root in the hearts. Please labor with us in prayer at this time of outreach. Pray that the word of God may run swiftly and bear fruit. Their are many spirits here that are blocking people from receiving the love of the truth that they might be saved. Let us pray and fight for the souls here that their might be an opening for them to repent and believe the good news.
We had a blessed privilege to give out a wheelchair to a boy here who cannot walk. The family was very blessed and we are praying that it will touch their hearts and help them to realize the love that God has for them.
Also we ask for prayer for our neighbor Paul. He cut an artery it seems and we have been attending to that. Kendra went and has been attending and praying over him. She was having much trouble trying to slow things down and came back to the house to talk with me while Burton was helping him out. And then everything just stopped and there is no bleeding. We are praising the Lord. The man's wife was saying how he was a good man because he goes to mass. Kendra was able to testify the truth more clearly to them. Please pray that this situation would work to the benefit of their souls.
Well we have many thoughts and ideas about how the rest of our time should be spent but we ask for prayer that we would simply co-work with God and be a channel of His blessing in this place. We are also praying that the Lord would clarify our vision in this time about the next steps in service here after our company returns to the USA. We feel we need the Lord to help us in this.