The Kavieng center is getting a very much need fresh coat of paint.
Pastor Joe Tobung of the local Four Square Church put in a bid to paint the building. They have a small company for doing odd jobs such as painting and building as a means to bring in additional income for the church as they have their own building project going on. The two young men doing the painting are doing a great job. Even Pastor Joe who comes by and check on their work picks up a paint brush to lend a hand also. They will be done this week after delays of getting the paint and the weather. I am thankful I was not the one going up and down the ladder to paint.
Since we have been spending most of our time in the town of Kavieng and not in the village of Lossu, I was not sure just how to plan for the dedication of the Notsi Scriptures portions (John, Galatians and 1 Timothy). I thought it would be easier for the translators to just plan for 3 or maybe 4 smaller dedications at different churches. So first week would be at Lossu, then Libba, and Amba, etc. hoping that since it was close by all the churches would be a part of it.
The section leader, the super minister, thought that it would be better to have just the one at the church in Libba. They did all the planning and organizing of the dedication. I was so encouraged that the church would take the responsibility to do just that. In the above picture Rev. Stanley Lavoi is praying over the Scripture Portions. He invited all the pastors and elders who were present as well as the translators. He also asked for some young and some old to join the group represent all who were present. I would guess there were about 200 or more people present.
After the prayer I was given an opportunity to share. I spoke about many who have come before us. The previous translators who started the work back in 1987, Lee Ericsson and his coworkers. Those who continued the work Joe & Jill McCarthy with their coworkers. Then in 2006 the Notsi became part of NITI to continue the work of translation. In 2009 I became the adviser for the Notsi translators. As this book was dedicated it is the first Scripture portion to be published in 20 years or more.
I also shared about William Cameron Townsend, who started Wycliffe Bible Translators. From his vision it has sparked a movement of Bible translation work that is being doing around the world. I also mention John Wycliffe who was the first the translator the Bible from Latin into English. At that time it was quite a radical work going against the norms of the time. I thank God for His Word, for the power of the Gospel to change lives; that through His Word we can come to know about His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
I then spoke about how much more we need to complete to finish the New Testament. We need many more people to help, in translating, reviewing and helping to edit. Give us feedback on ways to make the translation more clear. Most important though, is that they need to make use of God’s Word to let God’s Word work in their lives. It was such an exciting day.
It was on January 9, 1989 that I first arrived in the Philippines. This marked the beginning of 10 years of service as a missionary in the Philippines. I would still be serving there if it was not for meeting Gertrude and getting married in 2001. Today we are happily serving together in PNG. The picture on the right is from a Christmas card that I sent from the Philippines back in 1992 or 1993.
It was 1974 that I sensed that the Lord was calling me to missions. At the time I did not know what I would be doing or where I would go, but the call was clear to me. Now nearly 40 years later and involved in missions for some 25 years, I am still awed by the call. It has been a remarkable journey in the places I have gone, the people that I have met, the work I have done, and the many people I have been able to serve in different ways. I am so grateful for the open the doors that the has lead me through. In this walk of faith I am continuing to learn what it means to trust the Lord. I give all praise to God for His goodness.
Much of our time we have spent in Kavieng managing the guest house. We are grateful to have George and Debbie Bender come to manage the guest house so we were able to spend time with the Notsi in the village. As we went to the village we were able to install the new stove (pictured here). The old stove was badly rusted so we were thankful for the provision the Lord has made for the stove.
July we just finished a very full and busy eight months in the U.S.A. It seems that when ever possible we were traveling one place or another. November we arrived in Dallas from our short vacation in Australia. After just three days we were on our way to Orlando to visit at the Wycliffe USA office. It was so good to see friends that after so many years. We rented a car to visit Gertrude’s sister in Tampa.
We then flew up to Virginia to visit my family for Thanksgiving. During our time there we rented a car to visit supports driving from Virginia Beach up to Philadelphia. This was just a little taste of what our time home would be like.
While we were back to Dallas nearly every weekend we were on the road to visit different churches. As you look at the map you get an idea of all the places we went: Kansas City, MO (B), Baton Rouge, LA (D), Birmingham, AL (F), Austin, TX (H). On Easter Weekend we went from Longview, TX (J) to Houston, TX (K) then San Antonio, TX (L) then back to Dallas, TX. At each of the churches we visited we were given a warm welcome and opportunity to share what the Lord is doing in our ministry here in PNG.
On Sunday, September 9 is when Father’s day is celebrated in Papua New Guinea. That morning one of our neighbors came by to present me with a lobster for Father’s Day. This was only the third time we received lobster. This was the biggest one we have received.
For church that Sunday there was a big celebration for Father’s Days. Before the service started there was a procession with the fathers coming into the church. Just before we went into the church the children and mothers were sprinkling flowers and other little things for decoration over the heads of the fathers as we entered in. Family members would also put flower leis over their shoulders. I received a very fragrant lei from our “adopted” village son. It was very special for me to be included with the fathers. During the service different groups sang songs and read Scriptures related to Father’s Day.
After the service there was a big feast where all the different families prepared a meal which we all could share. It was a great time of fellowship with other men in the village that I don’t often get time to visit with. As much as I struggled I would try to speak Notsi. I would make mistakes, but it was good practice for me.
Another month has flown by. It is hard to believe in just under 3 months we will be on our way home. We are looking forward to seeing everyone very much. Please pray with us that the Lord will provide the funds that we need for our furlough. Our airfare is more than we expected because of the weak dollar, and we have a number of unexpected expenses. We are so grateful for our faithful supporters that the Lord has given us.
Since our return from NITI we have been busy at Lossu with Language learning and relationship building. Here Gertrude is in our kitchen with Shirley (one of the translators) and Kathy. They are helping Gertrude prepare some pumpkin tips (greens). Gertrude spends a lot of time in the kitchen cooking or baking so that we have something offer people when they stop by as well as take good care of me. It is such a blessing to have both a stove and refrigerator that runs on LP gas. A glass of cold water and a little snack goes a long way to make someone feel welcomed.
When it comes to the work of translation it is never at the pace I would like to see it at, but progress is still being made. During the last NITI session we reviewed the translation of 1 Timothy. Since then the translators have been doing village checking for this book in three different Notsi villages. They would read the passage to a group of people and ask question to check for clarity and accuracy. I Timothy is now ready for consultant check which will take place in October during the next NITI session.