Friday, March 25, 2011

We Praise God

Rebecca is home again and doing much better. She spent one night at the hospital on the drip and when the vomiting and diarrhea stopped, they sent her home. We're not sure now if she actually had cholera or not, or just regular food poisoning, but we're amazed and thankful to the Lord for how quickly she improved and we hope she stays well!

Thanks for your prayers.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Prayer for Rebecca

Please pray for Rebecca, pictured above with her grandson. She became very sick during the night and came to Bible Study this morning in much pain. We brought her to the hospital and they have diagnosed her with cholera. Since it is so contagious, the hospital has a 'cholera treatment centre' set up outside of the actual hospital where the patients eat, sleep and are treated in canvas tents, no visitors allowed.

Cholera can kill within hours if left untreated and so we are very thankful that Rebecca got to the hospital when she did. However, she is already quite a frail woman and so we are worried. We are also praying that it has not already spread to the rest of her family members, especially her young grandson.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Tuesday Mornings

Every Tuesday morning, I get together with a group of wonderful sisters in Christ. We meet to study God’s Word together and usually this happens either at our church or in the settlement where many of the women live. However, the last two weeks we have met unexpectedly in other places to encourage those in need, and it seems this kind of unexpected encouragement is often the most appreciated.

The first Tuesday morning, as we waited at the church for everyone to arrive someone mentioned that an older woman who usually comes to church was quite sick. We decided to see if we could go and encourage her. Someone ran ahead to see if this was ok. Others searched the Scriptures for texts to share.

The ok was given and we walked the short distance to her home. We met under a house on stilts, and sat down on woven mats on the floor, and were joined by our sister and her relatives—sisters, nieces, aunts and one lone man. We all shook hands in greeting, as is customary here. Our host explained that she had planned to travel to a hospital in the Highlands to have her sore back looked at, but then she became very sick with malaria and could not travel. For the past month, she had not been able to go anywhere or do much of anything because she was feeling so weak and ill. We explained that most of us hadn’t known this until today and that’s why we had come. We prayed, sang songs of praise and then the Word was opened. I was not surprised that the texts chosen were all taken from the book of Psalms, wherein every emotion is so powerfully expressed. We then ended in prayer, also praying for the Lord to heal and encourage our sister. She was moved to tears that we had come—she had felt so alone and discouraged at times, but now knew that we were there for her and even more, she was reminded that her Father in heaven knows every pain and burden she carries. Having shaken hands again to say goodbye, we left our sister, some promising to be back soon to see her again. What a beautiful morning.

This week Tuesday, our group had planned to meet in Biwat settlement, but upon arrival someone asked if we could visit a family whose father had just died. This family lived a short distance outside of the settlement, and on the property of a concrete factory. We had to walk right through all the noisy machinery and workmen to get to the area where we would meet to encourage the women who were grieving. The man who had died was a relative of many of the people we know from Biwat settlement—he was predeceased by his wife (many years ago) and also his only son. He left behind his second wife and two daughters, who were about in their twenties. I was told that he died from something like asthma and as I sat there breathing in the dust from the factory, I wondered if a life of working and living in this place had anything to do with it. Of course, the fact that the deceased man was also a heavy drinker wouldn’t have helped either. Still, I couldn’t believe that the owners of the factory could live with themselves knowing that their employees and their families—young children and babies included—were living with the noise, fumes and dust of pipe and concrete making—which goes on night and day. I had to push my anger over the living conditions aside and focus on why we were there.

Sister Polena had prepared the devotion not knowing of course that we would be comforting a grieving family, but the Lord knew and her message on ‘fellowship’ was fitting and encouraging.Again the family was so encouraged that we had come and said they would like to join our group more often. We hope they will. And we hope that the Lord will give us more unexpected moments to encourage others when they need it the most.

I wonder what next Tuesday will bring?

Here are various photos of the women from Bible Study:

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Marriage Conference

Last weekend, we held a Marriage Conference at our church. Ian and John Lanta (pictured below) both lead sessions during the conference. It began on Friday night and continued until Saturday night. There were many people who came and went throughout the conference and of course many, many came to watch Fireproof on Saturday night. But we were most thankful for the small, core group who were with us for all the sessions. We shared ideas and struggles, asked questions and enjoyed some good laughs together.
This is Andrew and Agnes, demonstrating the "Trust Fall"!
Matthias and Jakina and their son, Stanis.
They were with us for the entire conference and
are now excited to share what they learned with their family members.
Up close with Stanis. (Have you ever seen such long eyelashes?)
The youth from our church cooked the food and sold it as a fundraiser for their own youth weekend later this year. The food was delicious--rice, plantain bananas and a stew with cabbage, carrots and chicken.
That's a big pot of rice!
The girls are still smiling as they cut up all the veggies.
We're thankful to God for blessing our weekend--hopefully it's the first of many. And we pray that He will continue to change and strengthen and purify marriage relationships in Lae, to His glory.

Goodbye, Jerry and Annie

Last week, we said goodbye to the second couple from Lae who is studying at the Bible College in Port Moresby. Here are Jerry and Annie and their daughter Christina (in the pink) with Annie's mother (far right) and sisters and niece, just before they headed to the airport. It was a sad goodbye as they will not see each other again until the end of the year most likely.
Christina gives her cousin Louisa one last hug.
The whole crowd--mostly aunties and cousins--who came to see them off.
This will be their third year at the Bible College and although they have enjoyed it very much, there have been some very hard times. The most difficult was during their first year when their infant son was stillborn at full term. Especially Annie has really struggled and until this year has not been interested in taking part in any of the courses. We're so thankful she'll be taking two courses this year and pray that through them the Lord will grow her in her faith and knowledge of Him and His Word. We also pray that He will bless Jerry as he begins the Pastoral Program.