Our students returned to school in mid-January with wonderful reports from their holiday time in their villages! People saved, baptisms performed, John and Romans booklets distributed in new places, and everyone got teaching and preaching opportunities! Some of our women students taught other women in their churches for the first time. Two bush churches, that had never before done so, observed the Lord’s Supper – the people were thrilled with this wonderful service of worship and remembrance. The last week in January, I preached each morning to the student families, and had fellowship times with them in the evenings. We sang, laughed, and shared God’s blessings with one another.
February 1 brought the start of our first term of the school year. This term we surveyed the books of 2nd Corinthians, 2nd Timothy, and Philemon. I have just begun an introduction to the book of Hebrews, one of my favorites! This year, most school days we also hold a split session, me working with the men in areas of sermon preparation and delivery, the writing of a doctrinal statement of their own, and church polity and Trina instructing the ladies to write and teach lessons they design, along with help in dealing with women’s issues in which they may need to offer counsel.
The fencing project has filled the men’s afternoon work detail. Over 250 posts have been put in the ground. You must understand this is being done in a very “old-fashioned” way! Half of our 7.8 foot posts are purchased from the saw mill here, and the other half, a different kind, are floated to us on the river, and then carried almost a mile to our mission property. Muscles and shovels do the digging, not an auger. The men have done a fantastic job. We will continue working on setting all the posts, as we need to finish this part of the project before our rainy season starts. Continue to pray for strength, supply, and safety.
It has been great to see those saved in the last year still faithful in their attendance at Baimuru Baptist Church. Hivia’s teen daughter Eve was saved this month. So was the father of Linda, one of our students, and he has been at nearly every service! We regularly see Philip at services, bringing his daughter-in-law, and two grandsons with him. A new older couple that work at the vocational school have joined us the past two Sundays! One of the longer attending church families had two blessings at the start of this year: the father of the family, Kakare, returned to them, after being out of Baimuru, working as a plumber for over a year, and the oldest son in the family, Joshua, repented and was restored to fellowship with God and the church family.
The timing of our next supply run is being determined by the soon approaching end of the warranty on my hearing aids. We have to spend a week in Cairns, Au to have them checked and serviced, as they are sent out to Sydney. This tropical climate absolutely destroys them! Travel from the bush to Port Moresby, and getting supplies is always an expensive and logistic … challenge. (The word “nightmare” came to mind, but seemed too dramatic!) Pray God works out these details in a great way! Our dependence upon Him in every aspect of the missionary effort is so important, even in buying groceries and getting school materials out here to Baimuru.
Skipper Sam is away at Kapuna Hospital, staying with his wife Trudy as she is being treated for tuberculosis. This usually requires a two month stay at the hospital, while daily medications are administered. The hospital provides no services, so someone must be there to cook for a patient and do laundry. TB is a very serious problem in Papua New Guinea. In this country, one person dies every two hours from this disease. We have been allowed by the hospital to treat two of our students for TB here on the campus so they could continue their classes.
Easter was a joyous day! The men students went to minister at an Easter Weekend Fellowship at Kikori Baptist Church. Their strong preaching, great singing, and servant attitudes were a wonderful recommendation for Baimuru Baptist Bible Institute! Be praying for future students for 2017. I had fun too, holding down the fort, and preaching three times that day! What could be more wonderful than talking about a living Saviour?