Trusting God in Prayer

by Karen Weaver

More than 30 men and women, who were leaders from five of the nine villages in the Wampar language area, met to study God’s Word and to learn how to apply it to their lives. Each day they gathered under the big mango trees of Zifasing village to learn from the Scriptures.

One of the presenters, Lynda Wick, focused on the motivation for prayer. She wanted to encourage the group to stand firm against traditional expectations in the face of difficulty. As Lynda addressed the group, she knew that it was likely that some of them had been pressured to turn to sorcery when God didn’t seem to be answering prayers in their favor.

In the study, they looked at the passage describing Jesus praying in the garden the night before his crucifixion. He prayed to his Father, “Not my will, but yours be done.” Even in his darkest hour, Jesus voiced his trust in God’s will.

They also examined the life of Paul. Even though he was a good worker for God, he still had trouble. Although Paul prayed to God about his troubles, and was confident that God heard him, sometimes the problem persisted. However, Paul did not turn his back on God. He learned that God’s grace was enough and that God’s power was made perfect in his weakness.

At the end of this time together, one of the students shared how this lesson had impacted him. “Previously, I prayed as if God were my servant and He must do what I asked for. Now I see that I am God’s servant and I must trust him and follow how He chooses to answer my prayers: yes, wait, or no.”

These Wampar leaders have now returned to their homes and are sharing with others in their local churches the truths they learned from studying God’s Word.

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A Genesis Impact

Story by Stephanie Ernandes, Photo by Stacey Wyse

“How will going through the book of Genesis help to disciple this man in what He needs to know about the Lord?” Stacey thought to herself. “Usually you start in John or something like that.”

Stacey Wyse has been teaching with Theological Education by Extension (TEE) for 12 years now.  The goal of TEE is to teach and disciple pastors that cannot afford to go far away to attend Bible School.  TEE enables them to stay home in their own villages or towns while attending courses.

“It’s Bible study, but it’s deeper than that because there’s tests at the end of every lesson and there are practical assignments as well.  Part of doing TEE involves them going out to the villages and doing something with what they have learned as well.” shared Stacey.

 

A couple of pastors came to Stacey right before she was to teach a course on Genesis. “Many times pastors will bring people to visit so they can see what TEE is because they are very excited about it.” They told her about some men who had been part of a group of raskols (not pictured; raskols are similar to street gangs) that had come to know the Lord.  There was one man in particular who they wanted to bring with them to the Genesis course.  Stacey agreed but wondered how Genesis could be used to disciple this man. “Ok Lord, you know how,” she silently prayed.

A week later they started the Genesis course.  It happened when they got to Genesis 1:26a.

Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’” (Gen 1:26a ESV).

“This man, you could tell he was really emotional, he started talking and tears started going down his cheeks. He said, ‘If God has made women in His image that means I need to treat my wife differently!’”

The other men sitting in the room, they responded as well,
“Yeah, that means I need to treat my daughter differently.”
And “I need to treat my Aunt…”
“Your sister…”
“My sister…”
“That means…” (etc.)

“For the next half hour, I watched them as they all did their own Bible study on that one verse.  I just observed as the Holy Spirit moved in these pastors and this former raskol who had just given his life to the Lord.  I was blown away as I thought to myself, ‘Ah that’s how God disciples through Genesis!’”

Months later Stacey went to a church commissioning service near Yonki Dam and this man was in the group attending.  She noticed throughout the time at the service how well this young man treated his wife and children, how they interacted with smiles and laughter, and how his community had accepted him back in. “It was really exciting to see how God had moved and worked in and through this man.”

Please continue to pray for God’s Word to continue to impact the people of Papua New Guinea.

Learning to Read and Write

Story and photo by Janeen Michie

“Many nationals do not know how to read and write in Tok Pisin or their own language. It’s a problem for them as they are shut out from the world. They can’t follow the media or read a newspaper. When purchasing medicine they can’t read the prescription.” Mavis said sadly.

Mavis Matmillo teaches adult literacy courses at the Ukarumpa training center. She says, “You see people picking up words. Everyday is joy to see people change.”

Janet a student of the literacy course says, “I couldn’t read or write as a child. My parents didn’t put me in school. I didn’t know my ABC’s.” She grew up gathering firewood, working in the garden, and collecting water. As an adult she heard about the literacy course. Janet says, “I had a big hunger for reading the Bible. I heard about the school at the training center. I was very happy and I wanted to come and read the Bible for myself. Next year I will come back and learn more from the next course.”

Kete Oroti attended school from kindergarten to grade 1. As an adult she took the literacy course and after receiving her certificate says, “I’m happy that I can read & write. God has a plan for my life. I can read the Bible and now I can work.”

Commitment to Recording

by Karen Weaver

Commitment. That describes everyone involved in producing the video of the Gospel of John in the Mandara language.

A team of four Papua New Guinean audio technicians traveled to Tatau Island to record the voices for the video. They were accompanied by Lauren Runia, who had trained them in recording techniques and came along to see how they would do on their second major project.

The commitment of the men was obvious as they persevered during the trip to the location, which included rides in five vans/trucks and two dinghys, which included getting drenched in two heavy downpours of rain along the way. The distance and inconvenience of the journey would not keep them from their mission.

Once on the island, the team recorded in two very small buildings, using a portable generator to power their computers. They ably encouraged the actors to read with good expression, made the recorded parts sync with the picture shown on the screen, and related well to the local people.

The team’s mentor, Lauren, said, “Although I was there to coach them through any rough spots, there was very little I needed to say as the technicians far exceeded my expectation in their ability to record and to work through and overcome challenges.”

On their last night in the village, the team showed Part I of the Gospel of John video in the Mandara language. Even rainfall, which caused the showing of the film to be moved indoors, could not dampen the enthusiasm of the viewers. When all seats were filled to overflowing, more people peered in through open windows, sheltered by the overhanging roof, with the rain drizzling behind them.

The local church was grateful for the work of the team and demonstrated their commitment to the completion of the film through their close involvement in the project. Representatives from all church denominations in the language group met to pray for the recording, cooked food for the team, and provided them with shelter. In a closing ceremony, church leaders expressed their deep appreciation for the visitors and for the many local readers who had a vital part in the project. It had truly been a team effort.