The Fruit of Discipleship
Richard Kimiri came as a student in our first Bible Institute class in 2014. After the 2016 graduation, he stayed as an intern teacher, working along side me in teaching the next 3-year group. In the special one year class we did in 2022, he shared with me both the teaching responsibilities and the practical ministry training of that class. At the end of 2022, I encouraged him to take a longer Christmas break if he liked and look into a mission trip, or some other outreach that might be refreshing! God gave him an opportunity to travel to Mendi, an area in a province north of us. He worked with a small church plant with no regular pastor. For 6 weeks he taught from the Chronological Bible lessons he had learned and used here, and the people “ate it up”! They were hungry for Bible teaching that left them both knowing and desiring more! At the end of Richard’s stay, he was asked to return. He spent time at his sending church in Port Moresby and back out here in Baimuru, praying and searching the Scriptures for clear leading from God. He concluded that God would like him to take what he had learned to this untaught group of New Guineans. These folks are not of his language group. They have different foods, new ways to garden, and it is much colder! Richard is a fisherman. He is “nambis lain” – the coastal people! His new sheep are a long way from the sea! We will miss him, but I know it will be a gain to those to whom he ministers! Keep him in your prayers that God will greatly use him and bless the ministry there.
“Teaching them to observe all things…”
Discipleship, the heart of the great commission, can get messy. When we invite a new group of student families to live on the campus, I always keep in mind that we are inviting a new set of problems to live with us! Our pupils do not leave us at the end of the school day. In actuality, the “school day” never ends! The students come with a profession of faith, although sometimes God shakes that up too! Sadly, they often come with very minimal Bible knowledge, and very little teaching about how those Biblical principles are to impact their daily lives. I know I have introduced you to the students in an earlier letter, however in these stories, showing their areas of personal struggle and growth, I am just going to use initials.
The Word of God is starting to “bump” against some cultural things in personal lives and family functions. That is good, and expected, but still causes bruises! One Saturday night N. slept in the kitchen after her husband spanked their son for hitting the babysitter. I know that sounds awful, and in some ways it does truly reveal the family’s weaknesses, but something about it made me laugh when I first heard. It is usually the kid who decides to run away, not the mom! What was really interesting is that Sunday morning, she went straight out the gate when it opened at 6:30 am, and Pastor Danny thought she was really going to stay out! However, she was back in an hour, and they all attended church and had a quiet Sunday. Then, on Monday morning, a surprising thing happened! The little boy got in trouble, and Papa spanked him again! The wife did not win – and no fight came up; they were both in class!
This is not the only family with discipline problems. As we neared the end of Term 2, A. was given a 3-week probationary period to show he is making progress in controlling his boys. They all understood that at the end of the term, if there were no changes in how the household operated, A. would have to make a decision between sending the boys back to Harevavo to live with relatives while he continues this school year, or he and his family returning to the village. I was ready to send them out immediately – but A. pleaded for a chance to turn things around. The behavior of the two younger boys (Harrison and Maiku) was disruptive and dangerous. A. admitted he is “soft” on them, I think because of the loss of their mother. But that softness is not really helping them. A. had no control over them even concerning their health and school attendance. A. actually posted house rules and told his boys they would be spanked if they didn’t obey. There has been some improvement – at least more peace. I bet one rule is “no fighting”! They are still all with us at the start of Term 3, so please continue to keep them in prayer!
Another type of challenge came up during a Friday testing time. I thought perhaps N. was trying to cheat and look at some handy verse cards under her handbag, but I circumvented that without blatantly accusing her, and just gave a little talk afterwards to everyone about how to keep up with their studies so they are not tempted to cheat. She still passed, scoring above the required 80% mark. Unfortunately, she kept trying to shortcut, copying from her husband’s paper, and then, after being moved to a separate desk on test day, even tried writing answers on her hand! Obviously, she was reprimanded, and she and her husband were both given several hours of extra physical work to do. She and Trina have been studying each school day during the lunch hour. She is not unintelligent. She just got in a habit of laziness! She did well on the first test of Term 3! Pray she will learn to discipline herself in this area, and that she and her husband will progress together in their studies.
The final story I would like to share is about the growth I have seen in M. M. is a single young man in his early twenties. He has shown a hunger for the Word, and has taken to heart many things taught about Christian living in his classes. He has created a habit of daily Bible reading. God has convicted him concerning his thought life; I don’t really think he knew the seriousness of lust until recent months. If he was concerned previously, he found no help from the spiritual leadership in his village. He has been coming for counsel and Scriptures to memorize. I wish I could express to you how unusual this is: for a man to admit to this sin, and to seek spiritual help to overcome it! These things are NOT discussed in this country, even between parent and child! Our students have much to learn. If God is so gracious as to give us three years with them, they will leave here with a much stronger foundation. Our God is good, the Word is powerful, and with your prayers to strengthen us, we plod on teaching them to observe all things…
Presenting the Person of Christ,
Wil & Trina
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