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PNG 2012

 Glory be to God for another amazing mission trip.  
Back from Papua New Guinea!  So many great things reported a few Sundays back at our home church after our triumphant return from the mountainous jungle of the Managalas plateau.  In addition to what we reported then, I wanted to relay in some detail, Logan and my experience while trekking and teaching for six days in the bush.
While the first week was spent in Numba village where Logan and I taught two classes simultaneously at Ese Bible Institute (Hebrews and Bible Study Methods) we had planned the second week to travel by foot to the coast (3 days journey) teaching the book of Hebrews in the villages of Natanga and Gora on the way.  Once we arrived in Kiorota, our destination, we were welcomed in a way that surprised us.
The whole village turned out as a group of young men, in traditional clothing, reenacted a scene in which the first missionaries (pre-WWII) were allowed into the village alive.  This history is very dear to the villagers so they took their roles (as former cannibals) seriously as we played the part of the early missionaries.  We were convinced that they truly wanted to kill and eat us!  Thankfully, an interpreter was explaining what was going on as we were repeatedly threatened by this group of angry warriors.  Finally, these men were convinced to allow us to live by a small group of women who told them we were there to bring them truth about God.  Suddenly, the violent beginning resolved to an outburst of singing and dancing as we were officially welcomed into the village – no longer strangers but family.

We spent two days there teaching through the books of Romans and Hebrews.  The people sat for long hours hanging on every word for they had not had missionaries visit them for many years.  They had many questions relating to the Bible and its application in their church and everyday lives.  “You are teasing us!” one confessed. “We want more of this teaching and you are only here a short time.” Another explained, “The people are sharpening their teeth in order to bite into the bone of God’s Word…they want to hear more!”

Since then I have thought many times of our unique welcome at Kiorota and the hunger for truth displayed in the people there.  First, I was moved by the courage of the original missionaries that actually risked their lives to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to these people.  We were seeing the fruit of a ministry presumably unknown to the rest of the world.  How much am I willing to sacrifice or suffer for the sake of the Gospel?  Second, I am continually challenged by the hunger for Biblical training in churches in many areas of the world.  I am grateful to be a part of a church that sees the value of sending trained teachers to invest in these forgotten brethren.

On the eve of our departure from Kiorota, the people spontaneously began collecting money to send with us.  Hundreds of people contributed, each giving a small coin or bill.  In addition, children and adults began going back to their huts and bringing us gifts of necklaces and string bags they had made.  We said, “What is this for?  We are not expecting anything…your hospitality is enough!”  They responded, “This is a missions offering.  We are giving this money to your church in order to send missionaries like you to teach God’s Word in other places.”  The offering totaled a sum equal to a year’s income for a family in PNG!  This poor village gave unexpectedly, even beyond what they were able to give, in order to further the truth.  

May God bless the intention of this offering to enable His Word to continue to faithfully be taught by teachers sent from Grace as well as other qualified pastors and missionaries around the world.  May His Kingdom come! May His will be done on earth as it is in heaven!

Logan, Desiree, Mikel, Mary, Mark, Morgan