Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Last in a Long Line of Visitors!

After a steady stream of visitors, our last guest of the year, Keith Bruning returned home to WA a few days ago. He was the ninth person who stayed in Andrew and Natalie's unit since they went on furlough!

Keith was one of the Australian delegates who attended the Conference in Port Moresby with us. He then spent about 10 days here. He has a special connection to the Reformed mission work in PNG, as his parents, Rev. and Mrs. Bruning did some short-term work here many years ago. It was a moving experience for Keith to visit some of the churches in the Port Moresby area that his parents were involved with over 25 years ago. A reminder of God's faithfulness. And then he could see how the work has branched out into the Lae area, also thanks to the Lord.

Saying a few words of thanks and encouragement at church.
We enjoyed Keith's company and having him experience the work with us, and especially appreciated that he was game to drive all over town doing errands for us! Not to mention the delicious croquettes he cooked for us twice! We're sure his family is glad to have him home again though, also just in time to celebrate his and Brenda's 25th anniversary! May the Lord give them many more years together.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Port Moresby and Home Again

We've been back from our conference in Port Moresby for over a week now, but still here's a bit of an update. In attendance were the 5 missionary couples on the field right now as well as 3 delegates from Australia, 3 from New Zealand and 2 from Canada. We had good discussions on the 10-Year Strategic Plan, reports on the 8 church groups, reports on the Bible College and also developed policies, Etc, Etc. The result was an 86-page document containing the minutes as well as many appendices with the various reports and policies! We pray that the Lord will help us to follow through on all that was discussed and planned, and we completely depend on Him for His blessing.

This is the classroom where the meetings were held.

Our kids had a blast with Sjaan, Bryce, Cameron and Joseph Vanderheide. In fact, there was much talk of them staying in Moresby and becoming Vanderheide's themselves:).

On the weekend, we took the kids to this Wildlife Sanctuary
that was recently built close to the Bible College .
Their babysitters (students from the Bible College) kept them busy with all sorts of activities.
Caleb and Dorothy
Best Mates Caleb and Joseph
While we were at the conference, we also got the news that our co-workers, Andrew and Natalie Vanderheide, will not be returning to work with us as was originally planned. This did not come as a complete surprise because we knew that they were struggling with what to do, especially since Natalie has dealt with recurring miscarriages--an even more difficult experience when living in PNG. We deeply respect their decision and understand that it was not an easy one for them to make. Still, they will be greatly missed here--by us, but also by the church community. We look forward to spending some time with them when they come in December to pack up and say goodbye.

A few days after we got back from Moresby, we also received the shocking news that a young man who had attended our church for many months this year had been killed. His name was Jackson Willy and he was a young man that we were worried about--for he had stopped coming to church suddenly and after that we saw him drunk a few times. He was also drunk the night he was killed.

It seems a fight broke out between two groups of drunken young men and Jackson's cousin ended up being cut in the stomach with a knife. For some reason, Jackson stayed behind when his friends went to avenge the cousin's injury, but then later decided to go on his own and was met on the path by about 5 young men armed with bush knives and iron pipes. They attacked him and then left him there on the path where he bled to death. His family members in Biwat community are in shock and deeply grieved. When Ian went there a few hours after his death, his mom was of course beside herself with grief. She was wailing and throwing herself on the ground and could not help but return to the site of his death where his blood still stained the ground.

His death deeply saddens us and also frustrates and angers us. What a senseless and most violent death. And yet, the last few months we have also been saddened and frustrated by the making and drinking of 'homebrew' among the young people, and the parent's seeming apathy to this. Our prayer right now is that the Lord will use Jackson's death to open people's eyes and turn them to Him. Ian had the opportunity to preach the other night at the home of Jackson's family, and there were many young people there, as well as parents and children. We sang songs of worship for a long time and then Ian preached a powerful message of comfort and challenge. Not that he had planned to preach because we thought we were just going to see Jackson's parents, but when we got there they had set things up for him to preach, and more and more people just kept coming! The Spirit was at work that night and I saw on the faces of a few of the young men that they were really listening and being impacted. Please pray that they will completely commit their lives to Christ.

Please also pray that Jackson's family will not avenge his death, but leave it in the hands of the police. We pray for no more bloodshed.