During a visit to the Gordonvale / Babinda church we were reminded that our ministry is simply the latest chapter in a story going back decades. We met a number of folk with stories of their involvement in bible translation, visits to PNG, or of family members involved in overseas mission. Hebrews 12:1 speaks of Kingdom members who have gone before as “a great cloud of witnesses”, painting an image of them as spectators at a foot race, urging us to keep going with our eyes fixed on Christ. The enthusiasm with which these folk received us was certainly in that spirit, as we shared experiences, gave updates on the current situation in PNG, and prayed about challenges facing us in the future.
It was a treat to meet Yvonne, who arrived in PNG in 1959 to be involved in Bible translation. Without a suitable single female colleague to be paired up with, she was initially assigned to assist the new Finance Manager, John Abernathy, working in an ‘office’ which was a traditionally constructed hut complete with thatched roof. This was undoubtedly God’s working, as Yvonne later become Mrs Abernathy after an Ukarumpa dual wedding ceremony on November 18, 1961.
Keith was thrilled to hear about one of his PNG ‘finance forefathers’ and would love to have spent more time hearing stories of those pioneering days. Duty called however, and we spent the rest of our time having great conversations with people over a BBQ dinner and a cuppa.
praise God for those who have gone before us in PNG mission endeavours
pray that the next generation would grasp the urgency of the need for more labourers (Matthew 9:35-38)
seek God’s protection over our continuing travels. Next week…. Atherton!
The classic children’s action rhyme goes, “Here is the church… here is the steeple… open the doors… and here are the people.” It is very cute when enacted by a four-year old, but misses the mark somewhat theologically.
Ephesian 5:25-27 tells us that, “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish”. This is not recounting some Messianic working bee to tidy up a building, but Jesus’ giving of himself in order to perfect the people of God’s kingdom.
During our time back in Australia we are visiting with many churches – not buildings, but communities of believers all serving Christ and longing for the day that His purposes are fully realised.
One such visit was to the Burdekin area and the sister congregations of Ayr and Home Hill. These folk have always been a joy to be with, and they warmly welcomed us yet again for a morning tea chat one Thursday (top photo), after which we met with the young adult group in the evening. As often happens, we were enjoying things far too much to remember to get a photo.
The following Sunday, Keith preached from John 4:1-42, and we spoke about our PNG experiences after an early ‘munch’ (above). [Apparently that’s a morning tea which rolls into lunch…. if the terminology takes off then the minister Gavin Henderson can take full credit.]
What we appreciate so much about these saints is their commitment in keeping up with our blogs and newsletters, and their faithfulness in using these resources to inform their prayers for us and the ministry in PNG. It is a great encouragement when we refer to a time of blessing, or answered prayer, and to see the recognition in their faces and the response of “We were so thankful for that when we heard!”
Now that is a beautiful picture of the church….. even with wrinkles and the odd spot!
Praise God for the true church, and for His declared purposes for us
Pray for our health and safety as we travel throughout Queensland visiting supporters up until September
Give thanks for opportunities to renew friendships, and to meet new brothers and sisters in Christ