The missions center where we live lit up the night sky at the end of March as staff from around the country gathered to celebrate, worship, fellowship, and reason together. How wonderful it was to have a packed meeting house after months and months of limitations on gatherings due to COVID. Each of the six mornings were spent worshiping corporately and hearing messages from God's Word about stewardship, followed by reports of what God has been doing around the nation through our colleagues and partners during the past three years.
It was so encouraging to witness many of our Papua New Guinean colleagues parading Scripture up the aisles which had been published during the past three years, even amidst all of the COVID restraints. The table displays complete New Testaments, Scripture portions, Scripture recordings on solar-powered players, and the Jesus Film, each in different languages. Each orange dot on the map pictured represents a different language which now has more access to God's Word in their heart language than they ever had before. Praise God for His powerful and gracious hand in this work . . . which YOU are a part of through your partnership. YOU make a difference!
Afternoons were spent reasoning together in small groups about how our missions organization might begin to partner more strategically and efficiently with other missions who can both benefit and contribute to the infrastructure our main center affords. Additionally, we thought about how we could better prioritize transformation, relationships, church engagement, localization, communication, and innovation in the Bible translation, literacy, Scripture use, and language development work in which we are involved as an organization. Christopher is currently a member of the Executive Committee, so he had a major role to play in bringing to the floor the need for a decision concerning one of our missions' behavior standards - this continues to generate much healthy discussion.
Our community also knows how to recreate well! From school dramatic performances (in which Nehemiah played a key role), a community picnic, a bocce ball tournament (Hannah pictured below taking a turn tossing a ball), an Aussie Bush Dance, a Talent Show (Christopher and Darlene did some goofing around on stage), to a 5K "fun" run, we made the most of the Conference weeks.
We have fewer than 2 months left of our field term here in PNG. We are working on handing off the baton to others in our various roles and ministries, thinking through stories to share with our churches and friends in the US, staying engaged in school activities, church, and family life, and trying to leave our home and property in good condition. Please pray for us as we try to balance the work with healthy attitudes, relationships, and a God-focus. Thanks so much!