Work in progress…

We are constantly aware of the Lord’s sustaining in what we are doing here in PNG – it often feels just a bit bizarre that we have been given the opportunity to serve in this way.

 A friend from our orientation course recently asked how we were doing in Lae. Thankfully, it just seems a good fit for us, with Keith keeping the Operations side in check – finances, logistics and overall site maintenance – while Elspeth handles the day-to-day running of the guesthouse.

That said, there are still ways in which God is knocking off some rough edges to equip us to be His servants. At the risk of sounding flippant, there is no other explanation other than the Spirit at work in new-found levels of patience! Ask one of our girls about their father’s attitude to long queues – be it highway traffic jams, or waiting for the Wipeout ride at the Waterworld theme park.

In Lae, going to the bank, picking up a few supplies at the hardware store, or paying an electricity bill could involve a wait of several hours. It is just one outworking of the PNG emphasis of relationship over efficiency – they take time with people! It requires patience and a determination to make the most of the situation – generally by working on documentation or task scheduling. A Samsung tablet helps to while away the time.

It also helps to keep a healthy view of God’s sovereignty in all things. As ex-pats working in PNG we accept that things won’t always go as planned – in fact delays, redirections, and frustrations are generally expected, and, in an odd way, planned for! Each morning we have been reading from a devotional, ‘How Great is our God’, featuring excerpts from some great writers – with our favourite being Jerry Bridges. His book, ‘Trusting God’, is a real encouragement to step out each day conscious of God’s leading???????????????????????????????

No one can act outside God’s sovereign will or against it. As Augustine wrote centuries ago, “Nothing … happens unless the Omnipotent wills it to happen: he either permits it to happen, or he brings it about himself.” Philip Hughes said, “Under God … all things are without exception fully controlled – despite all appearances to the contrary.” Nothing is too large or small to escape God’s governing hand. The spider building its web in the corner and Napoleon marching his army across Europe are both under God’s control.

So the unhelpful accounts clerk, the non-functioning printer at the local government service counter, the unscheduled office closure at 3:40 on a Friday, are all, somehow, part of the sovereign will of God. Trusting God does not mean we always understand what He is doing in us… we are a work in progress.

Please pray …

  •  praising God for his equipping us for this task in so many ways
  • for discipline in maintaining our relationship with God
  • for our continued adjustment to the culture and society in PNG

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie…..

Australia Day provided an opportunity to relax and enjoy some time with our staff team and families!

 We chucked some snags on the barbie, put up the big brolly, and had a picnic on the front yard. An impromptu rendition of Advance Australia Fair drew applause, but the real highlight was driving the flagpole (all 20cm of it) into the ground and claiming the ground as Australian territory – at least for one hour anyway!

We had a history lesson on the First Fleet arrival back in 1788, acknowledging the good and the bad. Settlers brought weapons, disease, conflict… but they came, and others followed, with the gospel.

 PNG is not that different. There are signs everywhere of the negative influences of Western society. The relative affluence of those who came here spawned the ‘cargo cult’ mentality; the incredible beauty of the countryside and coastline is often marred by advertising billboards and the refuse of Western packaged goods; potholed roads reflect the consequence of an economy which brings trucks and heavy industry yet lacks some of the infrastructure needed to 20150111 Blog_DSCN0572support them.

Yet here too is the gospel, in quite a noticeable way. On Sundays, it seems as though the whole community is out, with families, crowds of people, walking to church. Services are at all times, and can last for hours, so the throng is constant from morning to late afternoon. This past month, one denomination has hosted a public outreach event nearby – with singing and preaching over the PA system daily from 6am.

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Here at the Regional Centre, 24 national workers, from four language groups, are involved in Old Testament translation workshops, and recording scripture in their heart languages on re-chargeable audio players. They aim to reach the thousands of people in their communities, who are yet to have the complete scriptures, or who lack the literacy skills to read the resources completed in past years.

The gospel has impacted PNG dramatically… but these folk know there is work still to do.

Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.”   John 4:35-36

Please pray … 

  • rejoicing that the NT translations sown continue to reap a harvest
  • for these translators who are away from home and family to advance the gospel
  • that PNG Christians discern the positive from the negative in Western culture