Welkam hom, misinari! After 7 months of furlough, 2 weeks quarantine, 2 weeks of shopping, and a surprise surgery followed by 4 weeks of recovery, we are home! We arrived in Baimuru on February 26th. After being gone 9 months, there was, and is, a lot of “catch up” to do. Bush cutting, drain cleaning, and termite damage needed addressed. The fencing wire needs redone, and numerous posts replaced. A few things are not working after sitting idle, particularly the oven and a couple mowers. Parts had to be ordered from Australia for the mowers. They will arrive in PNG on April 7th, but I am not sure how or when they will get to Baimuru! BUT –I am really glad to say the little solar refrigerator started right up!

It was an odd beginning to the year with the quarantine – and then what felt like the second quarantine following my surgery! I was thrilled to be back in Baimuru, but I am terrible at “looking” at work that needs done. The surgeon had said to plan on 4-6 weeks without work. After being here a week, at that time 5 weeks after surgery, I picked up a bush knife. I didn’t realize how “soft” I had become physically after months of driving around and quarantine! Perhaps bodies in their 70s need the whole 6 weeks or longer because some obvious pain flared up, and I was concerned I had damaged the recent surgery. We went to the Kapuna bush hospital last week to see if an ultrasound could determine the reason for my continuing pain. The doctor felt the left side surgery looked great, and had healed well. She thinks I have a small hernia on the right side now, one that might actually have started earlier and just not noticed in Port Moresby. Not an emergency, but they don’t heal themselves. Also, because I had an operation for a hernia repair on that side over 35 years ago, she thinks this repair could turn out to be a little more complicated. She recommends a 1st world surgeon – and as we can’t reasonably go in and out of PNG due to covid travel restrictions, she suggests contacting the Nazarene hospital near Hagen. Right now, things are wild medically, as well populated areas, like Goroka and Hagen, are seeing an explosion of covid cases. I contacted the Nazarene hospital that hosts American doctors, so we will see what kind of information they give us. I am not eager for another surgery – but I am limited in what I can do lifting, trying to keep this little hernia from becoming bigger – and a medivac situation!

So, for several reasons, we would not really have been ready to begin anything right when the PNG school year started in February. And now, all the schools in the country are on a 4 week lockdown due to increased covid cases, and won’t be resuming until April 19t, which is the date we are looking to start, if this is the way God leads. I should add here that our area has had very few confirmed cases, and we feel very blessed!

We would be happy to begin with a new student group – either a short 9 month class for those that just want to be more of a help in their local church, or a new 3 year group. Interest has been expressed, and applications are out, but I get the feeling that many are just like those folks that talked to Jesus about following Him, “but first let me . . “ – there was something they allowed to come first. So please pray with us on the 2021 plan. We would be happy also to visit our graduates, preach and teach in these young churches, help them with outreach and evangelism, have the graduates in here for a retreat or host other meetings. Thanks to your giving, we have a great supply of fuel and reliable transportation to reach out into new villages with the gospel too!

Please keep in prayer Max, our local mechanic. He has done some work for me, and I have had several good opportunities to witness to him. He has started coming to services and bringing his family. He is listening, but still needs salvation. I also have had spiritual conversations with Joe, the new vocational school manager, and Koivi, a mechanic at the Kapuna hospital. Pray for these too!

There is one blessing that I want to share with you! After graduating in December of 2016, Neddy, Pastor Danny’s wife, began teaching a Saturday morning mamas’ class. She had learned to write her own lessons from the Scriptures using a plan Trina taught her from Child Evangelism Fellowship. She has done a great job with that class.

Well, last Saturday, after she greeted the women and prayed, she called up another women to teach the class. Trina knew Elisabeth had substituted for Sunday school, but was surprised. And then was REALLY surprised when Elisabeth taught a lesson she had prepared herself using the CEF method – because she could have only known how to do that if Neddy had taught her while we were on furlough!

When she finished, Neddy got up and made a special point to tell Trina she had been teaching the ladies how to teach, and wanted it to be a little surprise for her when we came back! It is a blessing to see the ones you teach use the skills they acquire – but when they actually “teach others also”, it is amazing!

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We thank you for your prayers and support toward reaching the people of Papua New Guinea with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.