Our travels so far have been much different from the equivalent ‘tour’ in 2013/14. Back then we were excited at the prospect of heading to PNG, sharing other people’s photographs and stories of God’s work in that strange, exotic land.
Now…. we struggle to select which of the hundreds of our stories are most suitable to share, and every photograph brings with it memories of experiences and of people that have come to be such a big part of our life. Those that tend to stand out are the many PNG national believers we have met through translation teams and local churches.
The words of one of our trainers from Wycliffe Australia always come to mind, “Tell people what you believe they need to know.” So, what do people in Australian churches need to know about PNG?
That there are people in PNG who love the Lord, who have a heart for reaching their lost brothers and sisters, yet are crying out for the resources to do so – primarily, for God’s word in a language and form that is relevant and accessible to those they are trying to reach. For every expatriate Wycliffe translator working in PNG there is a team of national co-workers, and a local community supporting through prayer and provisions. We tell people about Elisa, (Spotlight Sept 2015) who walks for a whole day across three mountain ranges to come to Lae for training workshops. Saleng, (Newsletter March 2016) who hand writes his Old Testament translation drafts into school exercise books as he has no computer skills. The Urii co-workers (Spotlight March 2016) who left families and gardens to work 14 hour days for several weeks in an effort to complete the process of audio recordings of their previous written translation.
The work is the Lord’s, and He will move His people – in PNG, and in Australia – to see that it is completed. It is such a joy to us when we see Australian believers getting the message, receiving the challenge to consider their PNG brothers and sisters and to pray for the work.
We have visited small churches without a permanent pastor; communities in the midst of drought; congregations with elderly folk facing deteriorating health – people with their own concerns and difficulties. Yet they care for us; they open their hearts and their homes; they pray for the PNG people; they support us in our planned return.
They understand the need and they respond.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:36-38