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 support 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.
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