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Sunday, June 30, 2013

PNG Mission Project Day 16: Returning home - The eagle has landed!

My 16th & final day on this trip was last Wednesday (it's now Sunday).  It was an amazing 16 days - and it seems much longer than that when I think through all that happened.  I caught a cold toward the end of my time there, and it's hard to kick (this is why it's taken me 4 days to write this).

Eva took me to the airport & Elton met us there - it was a good relax time together.  I had 2 flights to Auckland and the layover was in Brisbane Australia.

When I got to Brisbane, everyone had to put all their stuff through the scanners to get to the transit lounge.  As I got to the front of the line, I remembered that I still had an almost full bottle of water (400 ml,  13 oz)... and they don't like water.  So I chugged the whole bottle in one go (I really wanted to keep the bottle). As soon as I finished, I looked up and saw that the security man had been watching me, and he than said to me, "nice one"!  At least I impressed someone :-)

Here are some of my highlights that I haven't written about before:

After spending Monday at UPNG, I called for a taxi and headed toward UPNG's front gate.  As I was walking, I turned and saw Stanley, who I had been meeting with, walking along side me to the taxi.

Here are a few of the texts that I received from those who were on the project with us as I was leaving PNG: "Hi Dan, it was really nice of you to drop by the uni for us to chat yesterday - I really enjoyed your company too.  and I'm also praying and trusting that the Lord will show me His plan & purpose for me (Jeremiah 29:11) Have a safe trip back to NZ!  Best regards to Kaylynn too!"  "We are also sad
that you are leaving, but we are excited to see you and Kaylynn come September!  Looking forward to it!"

One thing that I loved was the ocean.  I loved "Wave Bashing" where we pretend that we're stronger than the wave and try not to let it knock us over.  Several of the men would say to me, "let's go wave bashing!"  I also loved floating in the waves, on my back, with my feet toward the waves sticking out of the water - the waves (if they weren't crashing on me) would lift up my feet then my body as I floated up over the wave.  Several of the students tried it with me and we had many great talks together out on the water in the afternoon!  [I also loved that I didn't get fried by the sun like in NZ].

Here are some pictures... and a video of our welcome to Hisiu (notice that they have formed a circle around us as they led us into the church compound where we stayed - also, this is the same dance that they taught us on our last day and we danced it for a couple hours - it took us that long to get it right, and it was also lots of fun!):
Elton shares the Gospel with some men from Hisiu.
I am ready to leave PNG - it's been an amazing trip!

Not quite Oreos :-)

Elton pretends that he is ringing the church bell!
The church has a bell that they ring twice for each event - a warning bell and a start bell.  We had to have this bell rung to get people to come to the training.  Only designated people were allowed to ring this bell.
Some creature made many little sand balls when he dug his hole.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

PNG Mission Project Day 15: This is so satisfying to me!

It's about 8:15 pm, and I just finished talking with Paul Ikupu, our board chair who is from Hisiu. He came over to the guest house to say goodbye as I leave tomorrow, and to say that he's thrilled at what God is doing in his village. He said that the pastor, who we didn't really have a whole lot of contact with, said on Sunday (the day after we left) that he rarely cries when family leaves, but he cried when we left (and I saw this). He also told Paul last night (Mon) that even though he had done this training before, it had never registered to him how seriously important it is to walk with God and share the Gospel with those he meets. Earlier in the day (Mon) he had gone to visit someone in the hospital and shared the Knowing God Personally booklet and this person prayed & received Christ! The pastor was absolutely thrilled! This is so satisfying to me!

Paul said that people who had shown little initiative to do ministry before are excited to reach out to the rest of the village! This is so satisfying to me!

Paul came over also to have me sign some certificates for a make-up training he (& his 2 disciples) will run for those 14 who missed the first day of the training that we ran - this will be Sat 29th June - please pay that more people will get "fired up" on Sat.  I'm including a photo of Paul & I with the certificates. Most of these 14 people are from a different church, which is very exciting!

Earlier in the day, I taxied up to campus again (UPNG) to spend time with the students. I ended up sitting in the Forum area (the quad) seeing people as they pass by - for about 4 ½ hours. It's actually very enjoyable to me... except that I've been fighting a cold since Friday (the next to the last day in Hisiu) and all the talking didn't help my voice (ribit ribit).

I wanted to at least talk with 6 of the final-year students about applying to join our staff. Yesterday I talked with 2, and today I talked with 4 (see the photo of Henry & I). I also talked (or joked) with Elton (staff) & Samantha (3rd-year), but that didn't hurt my throat too much because they bought me a coke :-) (see next photo).

I just love all these guys and it would be an absolute thrill to work with them as staff members long term! Please join with me in praying that God will call them to our ministry after they graduate (I don't want them unless God calls them).

After everyone but Elton left, he asked me how to set up a blog like this one (see last photo). So for the next 30 minutes we created a blog for him to write... something :-) [Here is his blog (he's just getting started):]

Thanks so much for praying - I'm sure that this is why God was working so mightily!!

Monday, June 24, 2013

PNG Mission Project Day 14: Come join us!

This morning before I left the guest house (MAPANG), I went online and downloaded all our staff application forms to take to Vision City (the mall) to be printed.  I printed 6 copies to give to 6 of our 4th year students (hoping that God will call them to come join us) .  Since I had to have them printed, I ended up "paying through my nose" (that's a strange saying) for dirty copies, but at least the students will get one.

After printing, I met Jasmine & Lillian (staff) at a great coffee shop/restaurant for lunch to discuss our upcoming trip to Australia next week. The Student Life ministry in Australia is having their Mid-Year Conference next week and they are paying for Jasmine & Lily to come and promote the ministry in PNG to their students!  What an opportunity!  They will have several opportunities to talk about PNG, and our prayer is that several graduating students will come and join us!   I'll write much about that when I travel with them starting on 3 July (July 2 in the States).

I did an embarrassing thing when I paid for the printing.  I have too much cash right now, because I wanted to make sure I had enough cash for an emergency on the mission project - and so I used cash to pay for the printing.   The problem was, that I used exactly all the cash I had on my person. I had most of my cash at MAPANG, but I forgot that I wasn't there - so here I was stranded at the the mall with no cash. In New Zealand I very rarely use cash (once/month maybe), but here, almost everything is cash.  I had printed the papers to take to UPNG, but had to go the opposite direction to MAPANG to get my other cash before heading back to UPNG. So we enjoyed a K50 taxi ride instead of a K1 bus ride :-\   Oh well, I try hard - please don't tell the ministry partner who paid for this visit :-). But I met up with Greg (staff) at the mall and he went with me for the ride :-)  And when finally at UPNG, I bought him a K3 soft drink so that I could have change for a K50!

Anyway, Greg & I had a great time together speaking honestly about life & the ministry - that was very refreshing!  I'm so glad he's on our staff!

I was able to meet with 2 of our 4th year students to discuss the option of joining us after they graduate: Alfred (see 1st photo with a little boy in Hisiu), and then Stanley (2nd photo).   It was a good visit with both of them who both took the application (& 6 reference forms).   I would love for God to call them, but if He doesn't, I don't want them to join us as they will be miserable.   Please pray that God will call some of the 4th year students to join us, and that they will hear God's call.  Stanley walked with me back to the gate to catch my taxi - I really enjoy his company! [He's a physics major, thinking of going into medicine, and I was so glad to have him & other science majors with me during the dancing in Hisiu to commiserate with :-) ].

Stanley told me of a story when he was going house to house in Hisiu - he met a lady from another church (churches tend to stick together) who had a dream after attending our welcome the first day. In the dream, all our project were in the structure (the house without the walls) and it was all glowing white - and we invited her to come up & join us!

There are still remnants here of our time in Hisiu: my grass skirt that the village made for me is stinking up our room, and I still have sand embedded into my big toes despite attempting to clean them this morning :-)

Thanks for praying! Tomorrow is my last full day (hey Kaylynn, I'm coming home), and I plan to spend the most of it at UPNG. Pray that I'll be able to catch up with the other 4th year students.  Thanks!   Dan

Saturday, June 22, 2013

PNG Mission Project Day 13: Regrouping with the staff.

Last night I was falling asleep writing the blog :-\ and I wasn't very hungry, so I ate my last 4 remaining bananas and went to bed early - it felt good.

Today is our day of rest (Sunday), but I had to meet the staff this afternoon because Elton is still a student and starts the 2nd semester tomorrow. We had a good time together (3 hours), and I admire the staff for giving up their Sunday - we were all pretty much wiped out. We debriefed the missions project (what was good, bad, & needs to be changed), and we set goals for the next 5 weeks.

After we finished our meeting, I had a good, but burdening conversation with one of our staff who stayed behind to talk.  We talked about some of the difficulties that our staff have been going through this year (and previous) and how hard it is for them to have focused time on campus with the students because of these. The difficulties that they have to work through are far greater than I ever had. Safety is a big issue for single ladies here in Port Moresby, and having enough funds to contribute to the family (not limited to those who helped pay for their university). And safe transport is also a problem.  If our staff ladies had a safe place to live on their own near the campus, they could focus on the students and on finding their ministry partners without all the conflict they receive from those who can't understand why they are doing ministry instead of a job that pays good money (PNG nationals in full-time ministry who have their own support base are extremely rare here).  Our financial policy allows our staff to receive extra salary to give to family members and family events (which are many), but they need to be able to find their ministry partners first. I asked this staff person to find out how much a place would cost that is secure for our female staff, and that we'll start trusting God for a good solution!  If we don't find something soon, we'll lose one staff girl who just cannot hang on any longer - and another 4th year student who wants to join may not be able. This place would just be until they get enough ministry partners to stand on their own feet.  This just breaks my heart, and it will break the hearts of thousands of UPNG girls who may not learn how to walk with God and trust Him to use them to build into others, if these ladies leave.

Can you help? Do you know someone who can help?  Please let me know if you do/can!! Thanks so much!

And please pray for this. We may talk to someone at the university tomorrow to see if they can rent us one of their houses!

Thanks so much! Sorry for dumping this on you, but it is killing my heart!

Since today was a boring photo day, I'll quit with 2 photos of our staff & students from our final night, and 2 photos that show a nice advantage to living on a giant sand field. If you want to put up some poles, just dig a hole a foot deep stick the pole in and put the sand back in! :-)

Thanks so much for praying - God did great things because of you! And thanks to all who let me know how much you appreciate hearing about my grand adventures with God!


PNG Mission Project Day 12: saying goodbye & finding a place to sleep.

This morning in our last group Quiet Time, we practiced one more time using A.C.T.S. or God is, God does, I will do. I have been showing them my QT notebook where I write my thoughts & prayers, and today I read something I wrote a few months ago about 2 Cor 12 and Paul rejoicing (boasting) about his weaknesses if it brings glory to God. Then we spent 20 minutes alone (as a group) starting with Ps. 139 and going wherever God leads. And I urged them firmly to not neglect this time every day with God. Several students came up to me thanking me for these times and 2 asked me for copies of the Mercy Me songs (which I can't legally do) - But I offered to buy some for them off iTunes and I'll do that tomorrow.

Then it's pack up time and taking down the tents. We were all ready by 9:30 am when the truck was supposed to come... then we waited for 1 ½ hours (island time). [The photo is of myself, Elton (4th year/staff), & Samantha (3rd year)]

:-(    While we waited, I chickened out of something I think God wanted me to do - from about 9:00, the church leaders started singing (til the truck came 2 hours later). And while they sang, several other church members who had come see us off would dance.  Well an older lady, in her 80s, also started dancing but she kept looking at me as I was sitting along the side.  Anytime anyone does that to me, I start to get nervous - I can see something coming even if I don't have a clue what it is.  She would stick both hands out toward me, palms up, and then lowers them. It looked like she was inviting me in to dance with her. Well, if you know me, I can't dance - I have trouble keeping the beat :-\  Well I just sat there frozen - I couldn't move - I was afraid that I'd mess it all up - as the leader of the group, I was 95% sure God wanted me to do this - I blew it  :-(

:-)    About 30 minutes later, I happened to be in the same spot as I was before, and she came up & danced the same move - and then another lady behind me said, "she wants you to dance with her"... so I quickly prayed, "LORD, help me!" and jumped into the ring & danced with her! It was fun (my photo below doesn't look like I'm moving, but I am - I'm doing the dance that I was taught last night). For the most part I kept the beat, and people all around started cheering. :-)

Once the truck came & was loaded, everyone there stood in a long line curving around almost to a circle.  About 80 of them.  We shook hands and/or gave hugs & kisses with everyone.  I was at the end of our group, so by the time I got to each person, many of them were sobbing!  But the special thing for me is that this lady who I danced with shook my hand firmly with both her hands and said in perfect English, "Thank you!".

The 2-hour very bumpy truck ride went a lot faster simply because we know each other much better now, and because we stopped at a group of fruit stands and bought bananas & peanuts (in the shell, non-roasted). I ate 9 bananas & about 30 peanuts. The road was just as bumpy: it knocked me over once onto Eva & Samantha (in the photo eating bananas & peanuts) as I was trying to take a photo of someone else - - - and it knocked Eva off her seat twice!

Once in Port Moresby I found a room at the Wellness Lodge - I'm not very pleased with it, but it's only 1 night and I already had a warm shower where the water came out of the pipes by itself when I turned the dial, and when I drop my soap it still looks clean, and there is light when & where I need it, and my bed is dry and there's no sand in it! Tomorrow I head back to MAPANG guest house.

This last week had been great. The village (mostly the United Church, but also all those we visited in the community) has made us feel so welcomed and comfortable. And I found myself calling the students as my friends - as they surely have become. I've spent some personal time with each student & have gotten to know them much better - for some, it was as we floated & played together in the ocean waves! It's been a week I'll never forget. I just wish Kaylynn was here :-(

My last photo is one of a treat that I wasn't expecting - the people gave us lots of local veggies as a parting gift and with our heap was sugar cane. So this last picture is eating sugar cane (which I haven't done since we were in the Solomon Islands in the early 90s)!

Thanks for praying!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

PNG Mission Project Day 11: Final day in Hisiu

This morning in our group Quiet Time we listened to add another Mercy Me song (Send the rain), and recaped the different things we have done all week to help us meet with God. Then we spent the next 15-20 minutes alone with God - as a group :-)  Tomorrow is our last time together, and I'm praying that they all will continue to meet with God every day on their own.

I'm including a photo of our breakfast this morning,  :-)

We sorted out 300 Children's JF DVDs to take to the primary school. We found out that there was a fire in one of the classrooms yesterday morning and only the final year students (grade 8) came to school today... but we took the DVDs (see photo) and presented them to those were there. The teachers will hand them to the other children later.

The next photo is our lunch - there were other plates of fish that aren't in the photo :-)

Today we had our last Team Time - we compared ministry in the village with ministry at the university. We discussed the differences & the similarities. And we concluded that great ministries can be developed in both places, but the university provides a greater impact of sending graduating students from EVERY people group (835+) back to their own people with the Gospel & training in discipleship. The only drawback is that we only have 4 years to win, build, & train these students. So, at the university, we have an awesome privilege of impacting ALL of PNG, but we also have be focused in the limited time we have (1-4 years). It was cool for me to see the students catch this :-)

This afternoon we had "non-ministry" day of fun. So we divided into 4 teams and 2 played volleyball (or "wolleyball", as they say it here), and 2 played soccer. The locals from the village were invited, and so many turned up that we had about 15-20 on each soccer team - it was wild, but lots of fun in the sun (I love this sun here - I put sunscreen on & 4 hrs later, I'm still not burned). And I'm loving the ocean here - after the games we swam & bashed waves again, it was great!

Tonight we had our farewell (put on by the church). It was a bit chaotic because the rain started right at 7:00 and we had to move everything under shelter and reconnect the electronic gear... so we didn't get started until about 8:00. Our group started first by doing the same dance that we did in Fiji - only this time I wiggled out of it :-) - here's a photo of them practicing the dance on the beach.

[I hope this next part is clear - it's 12:30 am right now] Lily (staff) was producing a video of highlights of our ministry, but it wasn't working. So the village young people did a skit. By then the video was finished and we started showing it, but halfway through the video, the power goes out - the pipe/tube from the petrol (gas) can to the generator had sprung a leak! So our guys tried to hook up our solar power supply (that we use to show the Jesus Film)... but just as they got it working, before they started it, they were whisked away by the village leaders (they did not know why). [The leak to the generator was later fixed ].

Meanwhile, I was mixed half with excitement and half with fear, because a someone came up to me a couple hours earlier & measured my waist! :O They didn't measure anyone else's waist! And my friends were laughing saying that this means they were going to put me in a grass skirt :O So just as the power goes out, they call me up and "dress me". I'm the only one dressed. So here I am, sitting up on the stage all dressed up by myself, the only white one amongst hundreds. Hence why I'm nervous - thinking that I'll have to dance with some locals not knowing anything!

For probably 15 minutes I couldn't see where my friends were... but then I saw them also dressed similar to me. So, what we discover is that the farewell program is us! We were all dressed up similar to how the villagers were dressed when they welcomed us - but not as fancy or colourful :-) . So, for the next 3 hours, we dance their dances. A couple guys & ladies danced with us from time to time so we could follow them & learn. It was so much fun!! I've included several photos of our staff & students.

Someone just now came up to me and said, 'Dan, last & final shaken", and then shook my hand :-) It's time to go now - it's after 2 am already, and I have to wake up in 3½ hours :-) Thanks for praying!

PNG Mission Project Day 10: DVD distribution

This morning in our group Quiet Time (focusing on being with God), we looked at Eph 1:3-14, and we used A.C.T.S again as a guide - it went very well - we all prayed, and we truly were of one voice enjoying God's presence :-)  Hopefully these times every morning will help the students & staff to meet with God every day.

Today 35 of us (our project + 17 church people; see photo) went out to all the homes as far as we could walk to distribute about 350 Jesus Film DVDs. We started at about 9:30 am and kept going 'til about 3:00.  We wandered all around - I was so lost - I'm glad I went with Lister & Michael (see photos; Michael has the beard) as they guided me.  My feet are killing me & I'm physically drained, but I'm emotionally uplifted!  It was so exciting - the time went fast - we saw God working :-) 

As soon as the 3 of us left the compound at the start, God urged me to share with a group of guys sitting along the street.  I handed 8 of my Knowing God Personally booklets out and as I did, the group grew to about 12. Then it started raining... hard! We all got drenched & the KGP booklets got soggy!  But none of the guys ever moved.  Of all the guys in the group, I know 2 prayed, But I assume others did also by the way they acted. It was quite fun... but exhausting.   Over the full 5+ hours, I personally shared the Gospel 5 times and saw 6 people come to Christ - I'm including photos of Ome (he & I with kids) and Moses (being talked to at first by Lister) who both prayed & received Christ with me! I also led a back-sliden man (who was friends with Michael) to be filled with the Spirit.  The 3 of us saw 11 people come to Christ,  and we gave away 33 DVDs.

Our whole group (of 35) shared with 172 people with 112 people committing their lives to Christ!!

This is our 6th day in Hisiu, and tomorrow's our last full day.  It's been great, but I'm getting tired of sand - it's everywhere - in the tent, in my bed, and embedded in my soap from being dropped during my "shower". But it's only a minor nuisance, as are my glasses that have been dirty for several days now. And as is what happened this afternoon after we got back (before dinner) - it rained so hard that it broke the roof over our tents and water crashed down - so now everything is soaked. But... as Paul said in 2 Cor 4:17 "... for this light momentary affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison!"

Thanks for praying! Please pray for good conversations today & tomorrow with the students (challenging all the final year students to join our staff).   Thanks - it's a joy to share this trip with you!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

PNG Mission Project Day 9: The workers are few

This morning in our group Quiet Time we continued modelling A.C.T.S. (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication), and focused on Confession & Thanksgiving. I read an article in the Nov-2012 Worldwide Challenge magazine about someone hating big cockroaches, and how we have nasty "cockroach" sins in our lives and need to confess them & let God step on them for us. We also looked at & prayed through Psalms 51.

In our final day of training, after our opening worship time this morning, Elton & Greg (our staff) went up front with 3 Local guys (the 2 with guitars & the one in yellow, all 3 are taking the training) who played & sang a song for us - it was great that Elton & Greg had gotten to know them so much that they could sing together (see photo).

Then Isaac (in purple) explained about spiritual multiplication by having Greg's and Elton's disciples stand behind them - Isaac is in Stanley's group and Stanley is in Greg's group (see photo - Isaac also has 2 disciples of his own, but they didn't come on this project).

At the end of the last session we gave certificates to the 12 people who actively attended all 3 days. We had about 36 people attend at least one day. About 14 people did the last 2 days, but since the 1st day is most important, we couldn't give them a certificate... so 2 of the trainees will help Paul (our board chair) run the 1st day over again on Saturday!

Matthew left today after lunch - it was great to have him. He will be heading to Fiji to speak at their Mid-year conference. [The girls all wanted a picture with him :-)].

After lunch we had our Team time (see photo) and talked about the difference between temporal and eternal and choosing to look at the unseen instead of the seen (2 Cor 4:16-18). We looked at how God bought us (with a great price), gave us the Ministry of Reconciliation, and made us ambassadors for Him. We know God is calling some of the graduating students in our ministry to join our staff and we want those students to follow that call! Please pray now that they will all listen to God and know where He is calling them after graduation in October - thanks :-)

Free time this afternoon meant "head to the beach"! I heard a couple of guys say "let's go wave bashing" (my favourite sport). We spent over 2 hours in the water - it was great fun! And Good time to play & talk with the students. Alfred just now said to me, "we had an excellent time in the waves today, didn't we?"!

As I'm writing this, the guys are settling up for the African follow-up movie (walking with Jesus) - I hope a lot of people come, since it was postponed from yesterday because of rain. But so far there are about 150 people here :-) The film has just started, and it's really good... but I don't think the bats like the loud speakers cause they'd screeching in the trees. :-)

Tomorrow we're going to distribute 800 - 1,000 Jesus Film and Children's JF DVDs to homes in this village. But because the village is so spread out, and we hope to share Christ with many of them, we're planning to spend from 9am to 3pm. So please pray for strength & energy! Thanks so much for helping to make this ministry possible!

P. S. The film is still good, and after 10 minutes, we have about 300 or so :-) [The last photo was taken about halfway back in the dark :-)].

Monday, June 17, 2013

PNG Mission Project Day 8: Halfway point in Hisiu

In our group Quiet Time this morning we talked about using A.C.T.S. (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, & Supplication) as a guide when we come to meet with God. Today we focused on Adoration and I played another Mercy Me song. Tomorrow we'll focus on the Confession & Thanksgiving.

I'm including a photo of our breakfast time - we collect what we want from the table & sit on the floor around the edges. We usually have fresh baked (in the fire) scones/biscuits, fried breadfruit, noodles, baked beans, peanut butter & jam, and tea & coffee.

Our training went real well! We almost doubled our attendance today (to 28), probably because of being noticed in the community and others hearing great reports from those who attended yesterday.

Elton gave the illustration of being filled with the Holy Spirit using chocolate milk - 3 kinds of people (left to right in photo): non-Christian, spirit-filled Christian, and worldly Christian - the Spirit-filled Christian does not have more Holy Spirit than the Worldly Christian (they both have the same HS), but he is allowing the Holy Spirit to control & direct him. Being filled is like being "stirred". The trick of walking in the Spirit is to confess sin immediately when God convicts us, and asking God to fill us again, believing that He will (faith).

I also got to teach "The biblical call to make disciples". We focused on Matt 28:18-20 & Col 1:28-29. It was a lot of fun... except for the bat that flew in the church toward my head while I was speaking!

I'm including a photo of my lunch today (sorry Laurie) - it was wonderful! I ate it all :-) I should have taken an after-shot of the fish bones and the prawn skins left behind. I had another chance to eat a fish eye - I'll usually try anything once, but I chickened out last time... but as I popped it free, I nearly gagged... so maybe next time :-\ I did have banana-sago pudding tonight though - it was wonderful :-)

Tonight we were planning to show an African movie (by Campus Crusade) that was made as a follow-up tool. But it started pouring rain right before dinner (it's still raining now) and we had to postpone it till tomorrow. We've had good turnouts so far with about 500 watching the Jesus Film on Sunday and about 150 coming for the Children's JF last night .

A sort of funny story that happened last night at the end of the Children's JF: a man insisted that he speak to the children when the film was over because we were showing the film in the Tok Pisin language and he felt very strongly that the children shouldn't use that language (it was taking them away from their own language, Motu). So as soon as the film was over, I went and stood between the lady who was giving the final comments and this man. I was about 12 inches (30cm) from her and he was about 6 inches from me (I could smell his betel nut breath even though he said he was chewing mints). He kept asking "who's speaking after her, are you?" Finally he got the idea that he was not going to speak. I finally can thank God that I'm not a skinny mini any more :-)

Tonight marks the halfway point of our time in Hisiu - it's going fast. It's been very exciting to see God working, but I'm quite tired now & my only pair of casual shorts are getting kind of dirty :-(  I have 4 more sleeps here in Hisiu. But in saying this, the good news definitely out weighs the bad... but even if it didn't, the joy of serving God always out weighs everything else!  Thanks for praying!

PNG Mission Project Day 7: training starts

In our group Quiet Time this morning, we looked at Psalm 139 and 1) Who God is, 2) what God did, and 3) what I will do - a good pattern for helping us to mediate on a passage. I got up at about 5:30 am and had my "shower" in the dark (with my new camping light stuck to the metal wall) before we met together. [I'm getting better drawing the water out of the well :-) ]

Today was the first day (of 3) of our training for the local church. We got started an hour late because the church bell rang 20 minutes late and then the second bell never rang (the people are used to a warning bell & a final bell). So we asked someone to ring the 2nd bell and our attendance went up from 4 to 15 (11 men & 4 ladies). 

Because they spoke only a little English (they could understand more), We had to flex a bit - we paired up someone from our project with each of the 15 trainees to coach them during the session - that worked great! Because we were late starting, we invited them to join our compound for lunch and we finished our last session of the day there.

In our last session we taught them how to share the "Knowing God personally" booklet and then afterwards we all went house to house sharing the Gospel. I'm including a photo of the trainees practicing with the KGP booklet. I went out with Haue (pronounced "How A"), who knew English very well, which was great because he could interpret what I was saying into Motu whenever I suspected that someone didn't understand me. Haue shared with one older man who already was a Christian, and then I shared with Oa, who was probably in his late 60s. I shared in English and then let Haue find out if Oa understood and then translate the prayer at the end. After praying, Oa said, with tears in his eyes, that he had heard much of this before, but no one had ever explained it to him & brought him to a point of decision before! I asked Oa when did he receive Christ and he said "just now" - and I asked him where is Christ right now and he said "in my heart"! I'm including a photo of Oa & I and of Haue & the guy he shared with. 33 of us shared the Gospel with 79 people and 60 prayed & received Christ! And Matthew & I were the only white people :-) Afterwards, one of the trainees asked, "can we do this again tomorrow afternoon?"

I'm uploading some photos, in no particular order :-) One photo shows the 3 tents that us men are in! Notice that the whole area is black sand instead of dirt - it's nice on the feet, except that we have to wear flip flops (jandles/zorries) because of the pig droppings :-\

Thanks so much for praying - God is working!