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postheadericon Where did you come from?

 

This is an interesting article I found on National Geographic:

“…Each of their caves has an owner and a name, and ownership is passed down from father to son. Mark and John own Ulapunguna cave. Some caves have legends, which are strictly proprietary: Only the cave owner can share its secrets.

Plucking his new bamboo bowstring, John indicates for me to follow him. We track through the jungle to a clearing, where he points up at a massive limestone wall.

“Kopao,” he says.

Kopao is the Meakambut’s most sacred cave. It is their creation cave, where they believe they originated, and John says he is the owner of this cave too. He will take me there tomorrow. When we return to Ulapunguna, the rest of the group has arrived. This is when we first encounter Lidia, curled up by the fire, coughing horribly…

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/02/karawari-cave-people/jenkins-text

postheadericon We are thankful for our new prayer cards!

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Front of our 2015 Prayer Card

Back side of prayer card

 

 

postheadericon What a Whirlwind! Jan-Feb ’15 Update

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January-February ’15 update

 

 

postheadericon November-December ’14

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Nov-Dec ’14 update

postheadericon September-October ’14 Update

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September-October ’14 Update

postheadericon July-August ’14 Update

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July-August ’14 update

postheadericon Why are you in such a hurry?

Ever wonder why missionaries are so eager to return to the field? This is a post that I typed up while I was living in the Kotidonga area of the Gulf Province of PNG. I was fixing a bridge that day and I didn’t have enough lumber with me…

“Please pray for a fellow named Jacob. This morning at 6:30 I went up to the nearby mountain called Huyo. There was a small bridge there that I needed to repair. I called out a ‘Hello’ to the nearest house located on that road. The man of the house came out to chat with me and we had a good conversation. He said that he would help me with the bridge by cutting a hardwood tree down and letting me use it there. After we talked about the bridge, landslides, his garden and the recent death in the area I was able to direct the conversation toward spiritual things. Come to find out he was a professing Catholic. As I began to witness to him he told me that only the ‘big sins’ like murder would keep me out of Heaven. I tried to illustrate to him that God could not allow any sin into Heaven because it was a perfect place and He is a holy God. Of course when I explained to him that only Jesus’ blood could cleanse us from sin he nodded in assent. However, he did not say that he had ever put his faith in Christ alone for salvation. I plan to speak with Jacob again this Friday. Please pray that I will be able to convince him of his need for salvation.”

Just another person that God  loves with soul that will live for eternity in Heaven or Hell.

Just another person that God loves with soul that will live for eternity in Heaven or Hell.

 

That Friday it was pouring rain – or there was some other pressing need that came up and I was not able to go back and witness to Jacob before we left for the US. As I sit here I know that Jacob can’t hear the gospel on the radio, on television, through a track or even from a close relative (his whole family is probably Catholic). The only way for him, as well as so many like him in PNG to hear is through the lips of a concerned, diligent, Biblically literate Christian. (I happen to know that there is a good Bible preaching church close to Jacob – although I never saw him attend there.)

That’s why I’m in a hurry to get back – to tell the people that God has called me to about the precious plan of salvation.

postheadericon PNG Gardening

I finally was invited to go work in a garden here in PNG. The folks here have to plant their gardens on the sides of mountains. Because of the steep terrain it is very difficult to keep the ground from eroding. A ‘terracing’ style of gardening is not practical for them because in many areas there is only a thin layer of dirt covering the stony mountainside. However, they have implemented various techniques that allow them to get the most out of their gardens given their limited access to outside resources. Basically they do all there gardening with a machete and a stick. Some are fortunate enough to have an axe as well.

 

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From the little amount of time that I was able to spend in the garden I’ve learned some of their technique. They will allow a mountainside to grow ‘wild’ for 15 to 20 years. While they may not know the exact year that they last had a garden in that spot they can tell from the size of the trees on that mountainside about how long it has been growing wild. First the underbrush has to be cleared. This is usually done by the women and children. Then ‘suckers’ or small shoots are collected from other gardens. These are brought and planted among the trees on the mountainside. A 3 foot stick is cut about 3 inches in diameter. This is then used to jam into the dirt on the side of the mountain. If it contacts large stone just under the surface of the dirt then that spot is not suitable for planting. If they can drive the stick 6 or more into the dirt then they will put a young shoot into the hole that is left in the dirt. They will then drive the stick into the dirt 2 or 3 more times around the shoot to loosen the soil. One thing that surprised me was that they do not pack the dirt around the plant – they simply put it into the whole and let it sit there.

 

After the young shoots are planted the trees are cut down. That is where I got to come in. I like using an axe. However, I did not realize that there is a science to how they fell the trees in the garden. They want the trunk of the tree to lie horizontal to the slope. This allows the trunks to get caught by the stumps sticking out of the ground and keeps them from sliding down the slope. They also want the crown of the tree to fall so that when the leaves fall off of the dying tree they will fall onto the young shoots. This helps with erosion as well as gives mulch to the young plants. They also try to crisscross the trees when they can – this adds a network of branches and leaves which will help with erosion and add more mulch for the young plants.

I was able to use my newfound understanding of gardening here in PNG as an example the very next day. We headed out to the garden on Saturday morning at 7:30

and cut down trees until 11. We had a big lunch and then hiked 4 hours to a church plant in Aminowa. There I was able to illustrate God’s blessings upon a church by using my understanding of their gardening principles. I said that ‘You don’t cut the trees down first when you are making a garden. No, you clean the bush, plant the shoots and then cut the trees down. In like manner, if you want to receive God’s blessings upon your church you must follow His principles.’ I gave them 4 principles from Acts 2: Obey the Word of God, Pray, Be in One Accord, and Believe God’s Promises. The church was encouraged and I was happy. I then did the hike back home in about 3 hours.

postheadericon Fix Your Own Breakfast! – August ’14 Ipaiyu Outreach

 

This past weekend I was able to go visit a village called Ipaiyu. It is a three and half hour hike from where we live. I was thankful for this opportunity to see another of the young church plants here in the Kamea people group. Pastor John is a very godly man and very burdened for his area. He grew up in the Catholic church but became disenchanted with it because of the lack of separation he saw amongst the church leaders and the members. He related this story to me that was the turning point for him:

Easter is always a big time of celebration for the Catholics here. John had gone to the celebration like he normally did and stayed around to fellowship. However, after the folks had finished with their normal Easter activities they begin to pull out the buai and cigarettes that they had brought with them. Everyone, including the leaders began to chew buai and smoke. A little later someone set up a radio and everyone began to dance and sing to the worldly music. John knew in his heart that this was not pleasing to the Lord and told his wife that they needed to leave.

A little later he was witnessed to by a family that he visited. He then began to attend church at Kotidanga Baptist Church. This was a three and half hour hike from his house but he knew that it was the closest place he could hear the truth. However, his wife was not yet willing to go the Baptist church. She even told him that if he wanted breakfast on Sundays he would have to cut his own firewood, build his own fire, and cook it himself (this is traditionally the woman’s job here.) This meant that he would have to start on breakfast by 5 a.m. because he had to leave on his 3 hour hike to church by 6 a.m. John still continued to attend the Baptist church every Sunday. After about 6 weeks his wife and children began to attend with him. A few weeks later they both got saved.

A year later enrollment for a new class of students opened up at the Bible School here in Kotidanga. Bro John enrolled and began his three years of Bible School training. He finished this in December of 2013. During school he and some of the other Bible school students as well as one of the missionaries on our team began a church plant in his home village of Ipaiyu. This church plant went well at first with many folks coming to see the new church. However, after a while the Catholic leaders from the area began to threaten the new folks and one by one they stopped attending.

Pastor John related one story to me of how they would threaten the people. The Catholics misinterpret the phrase, “take up your cross and follow me.” They then tell people if you were once a Catholic and join the Baptist church you will be carrying two crosses instead of one. When you stand before God He will not allow you into heaven.

Another way that the Catholics have worked to undermine this church is through their school. At first many of the teenagers from the area came to hear the good preaching at the Baptist church. However, all of these teenagers attend the Catholic grade school at Kanebea. The Catholic leaders and teachers began to threaten the young people that if they continued to go to the Baptist church they would not give them good grades. They also threatened to not release their test scores to the high schools where the young people must go to further their education. Because of these reasons the church plant now consists of Pastor John’s family and a few others.

I wish that I could say that this is an isolated incident. However, many new churches go through this phase – and not just on the mission field. At first there is a burst of growth – and then the curiosity seekers all leave until you are left with those who are truly seeking God. Please be in prayer for Pastor John in Ipaiyu as this is a very discouraging time for him.

postheadericon Doing the Work! May-June ’14 Update

Please click the link below to view the PDF version of the update or to download or print it:

May-June ’14 Update

Dear Prayer Partners,
Recent events:
These past two months have been very encouraging and eventful for us here in PNG. At the end of May we made our first supply run without any other missionaries to guide us. Imagine trying to buy four months worth of food in an unfamiliar city in 6 days. We prayed more that week than we have in a good while! In spite of the stress, we had several blessings that week. We finally got to open our container and get out some of our supplies we had previously shipped 5 months ago. (Thank you to all who prayed for our container to arrive safely and for us to be able to access it here in PNG.) Another blessing from that week was meeting with three like-minded veteran missionaries who were able to share some wisdom with us. Finally, I was also thankful for the opportunity to preach again at Shalom Baptist Church in Moresby.

Personal witnessing:

Noah is a man that came to the clinic with a pretty deep cut on his foot. After receiving
stitches and some antibiotics, he slept nearby for the next few nights. That Saturday I was
visiting folks and got to sit down and talk with him as well as feed him dinner. He agreed to
come to church with me the next day if I would help him get there. He did come to church with me but I am still not sure of his salvation. Please keep him in prayer. Spon is a man that I’ve met a few times here. His brother Leftin attends church sporadically with us and they both sell trade goods in
the markets close by. While I was walking to the Yambawati market I had time to talk with him. He told me that his father had passed away a few years ago and where they buried him. When I asked where his father’s spirit was he said he didn’t know. I was able to share my salvation testimony with him but I was not able to get a clear response as to his salvation. Please pray for
him also.
Ministry opportunities:

Over the past few months Pastor Naudi has asked me to speak twice at Kotidanga Baptist Church. I was thrilled to be able preach the second message in the trade language of Tok Pisin! I have been going weekly to a market nearby and listening to Pastor Naudi preach there. The last two weeks I walked to the market in Yambawati. It is about a 4.5 hour hike round trip. The second time I was there I was led of the Lord to preach a simple salvation message in Pidgin using pictures.
While no one approached me afterward to talk about receiving Christ I did find out that a Catholic Catechist from the area was in the audience.

Bro John Gillispie and I are planning a 4 day outreach trip from July 2nd- 6th. While on this trip we will likely be hiking for more than 20 hours. Pleas pray for God to give us wisdom for witnessing and discernment for future ministry in this area.

Thanks!
As always, we are thankful for those who sacrifice financially so that we can bring
the gospel to those who haven’t heard of Jesus Christ.

Josh Florence
Church Planting Missionary to PNG
Matt 6:33

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